Community Ocology Alliance (COA) urges HHS sec Sebelius to stop cancer care cuts

September 1, 2010

Community cancer clinics, which treat more than 75% of all cancer patients, are struggling with Medicare reimbursement. Cuts in the Proposed 2011 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule will a have devastating effect on the delivery of cancer care. COA is calling for action.

Community cancer clinics, which treat more than 75% of all cancer patients, are struggling with Medicare reimbursement. Cuts proposed in the Proposed 2011 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule will a have devastating effect on the delivery of cancer care. COA is calling for action.


Representatives Steve Israel (D-NY), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Artur Davis (D-AL), Edolphus Towns (D-NY), and Betty Sutton (D-OH) have authored a “dear colleague” letter to House Representatives.

The letter asks their House colleagues to join them in signing a letter to HHS Secretary Sebelius and CMS Administrator Berwick to stop the Medicare reimbursement cuts to cancer care.

Reach out to your Representative to ask him/her to sign the letter that will be sent to Secretary Sebelius and Administrator Berwick. The letter will stay open for Representatives to add their signatures through the August congressional break, and will be closed after Congress returns in early September. A similar letter last fall, which was signed by 113 Representatives, was instrumental in averting the severe payment cuts planned for 2010.

Click here to access a copy of the “dear colleague” letter with the letter that will be sent to HHS/CMS.


Here are our suggestions on how to immediately reach out to your Representative:

1.Start by sending an email to the Health Legislative Assistant (Health LA) in your Representative’s office asking them to sign the letter, which you should attach.

2.Follow up that email with a call.

3.Contact your Representative directly in the district during the month of August as members are holding town hall meetings and other events. Go to your Representative’s website or call the district office for a schedule of public appearances.

4.Invite your Representative to your practice.

Be persistent but professional. Here are some support materials:

1.Click here for a list of Health LA staff and their contact information, arranged by Representative.

2.Click here to  access a one-page summary on the problems facing cancer care that you can use as talking points and even send to or leave with your Representative.

3.Click here to access the COA Practice Impact Report, which may be useful in sharing with your Representative and staff.

4.Click here to access the list of 113 Representatives who signed the letter last fall that was instrumental in averting severe Medicare payment cuts for 2010.

Practices should note that patients typically come from multiple congressional House districts. This means that you should likely be contacting multiple Representatives who represent your patients.

Also, note that this letter is only open to signing by House Representatives. We look to gain Senate support for a similar letter to be launched in the Senate in early September.