ASCO Applauds New Legislation to Reform Reimbursement of Cancer Chemotherapy

May 1, 2003
Oncology, ONCOLOGY Vol 17 No 5, Volume 17, Issue 5

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recentlycommended US Representatives Charlie Norwood (R-Ga) and LoisCapps (D-Calif) for introducing the Quality Cancer Care PreservationAct (H.R. 1622).

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recentlycommended US Representatives Charlie Norwood (R-Ga) and LoisCapps (D-Calif) for introducing the Quality Cancer Care PreservationAct (H.R. 1622)."The current system is clearly broken, and needs to be fixed," saidPaul A. Bunn, Jr, MD, president of ASCO, referring to the currentMedicare reimbursement system for chemotherapy and cancer careservices. "Congressionally mandated Medicare reform that properlyreimburses both cancer drugs and cancer care services is ultimately thebest solution to fixing the current system."Under the new bill, cancer drugs would be reimbursed at rates based onthe manufacturer's price with an additional amount that would cover thecosts of handling the drugs, including procurement, capital invested ininventory, storage, waste, and bad debt. The full costs of administeringchemotherapy would be covered, including oncology nurse time, specializedequipment, and needed supplies. In addition, Medicare would establishreimbursement for the many services that oncologists provide that areessential to patient care, including extensive patient/family counselingregarding treatment, side effects, and end-of-life care; nutrition counseling;psychosocial services; and social work support.The new bill is strongly supported by the Cancer Leadership Council,a 29-member patient-led coalition of national cancer patient advocacyorganizations, professional societies, and research organizations,including ASCO.