ASCO in Action

ASCO in Action provides the latest news and analysis related to critical policy issues affecting the cancer community, updates on the Association for Clinical Oncology’s ongoing advocacy efforts, and opportunities for members and others in the cancer care community to take action.

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April 12, 2024

On April 10, 2024, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued the fiscal year (FY) 2025 Medicare Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) and Long-Term Care Hospital (LTCH) Prospective Payment System (PPS) proposed rule. The rule would update Medicare fee-for-service payment rates and policies for inpatient hospitals and LTCHs for FY 2025. Initial highlights of the proposal are included here.

April 10, 2024

Change Healthcare, a healthcare technology company that is a business unit of Optum and owned by UnitedHealth Group, fell victim to a cyberattack on February 21, 2024. Regular updates on the situation are available for impacted customers on Optum’s website. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is assessing the oncology-specific impact of the attack and will keep its members up to date.

April 9, 2024

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released the 2025 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters final rule and the 2025 Medicare Advantage and Part D final rule. The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) submitted comments on the proposed versions of both rules. Summaries of the final rules, highlighting provisions ASCO commented on, are included here.  

April 9, 2024

State governments are increasingly considering legislation to streamline prior authorizations processes, which Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) members say delay patient care, adversely affect cancer care outcomes, and divert providers from patient care. States have regulatory authority over fully insured health benefit plans (group and individual plans) and health benefit plans administered by the state itself (Medicaid and state employee benefit plans). This means that state governments can impact plan design through either legislation or regulatory action, and during the past decade, a majority of states have been working to leverage that impact to reform prior authorization.

April 9, 2024

The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is holding its annual Advocacy Summit Week of Action from April 15-19, during which ASCO members are encouraged to connect with their Members of Congress about policies and legislation that impact cancer care and research. Participants may visit the ACT Network to contact their lawmakers and urge them to take action on priority issues.

March 28, 2024

Today the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Labor and the Treasury Department finalized a rule regulating the availability of short-term limited duration insurance (STLDI) plans. The rule would restrict the availability of these plans to no more than four months.

March 26, 2024

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) issued a new Clinical Practice Guideline, “Vaccination of Adults with Cancer,” which recommends several vaccinations (e.g., seasonal, herpes zoster, HPV, and others) for adult patients with solid or hematologic malignancies because of their heightened infection risks from vaccine-preventable illnesses. The guideline covers the essential questions of which vaccines to give, to whom, when, and which ones to avoid due to potential risks.

March 22, 2024

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reopened the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances (EUC) Exception Application for 2023 due to the Change Healthcare cyberattack. Clinicians who have not yet submitted their 2023 MIPS data to CMS, can submit hardship exemption requests for one or more performance categories until April 15, 2024, at 8 p.m. ET.

March 22, 2024

Congress passed a spending package March 23, 2024, that funds the federal government, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Cancer Institute (NCI), through September 30— the end of the 2024 Fiscal Year.

March 18, 2024

President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2024, which included a +1.68% adjustment to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) conversion factor (CF) for the remainder of  calendar year (CY) 2024. This increase results in a 1.68% reduction to the 3.37% CF cut finalized in the 2024 MPFS final Rule. The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) advocated for Congress to address the full 3.37% Medicare physician reimbursement cut, and while ASCO appreciates congressional action, the Association is disappointed that Congress failed to eliminate the entire reimbursement cut.

March 18, 2024

The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and other health care organizations are recognizing the proposed Health Workforce Well-Being Day of Awareness and calling on Congress to reauthorize the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act.

March 14, 2024

A new ASCO policy statement is emphasizing the urgent need for global equity in clinical trials. The statement, which published March 14, 2024, in JCO Global Oncology, explains how global equity can be advanced by diversifying trial representation, increasing access to resources, and strengthening research capacity on a global scale.

March 12, 2024

President Biden unveiled his proposed Fiscal Year 2025 federal budget on March 11 that prioritizes cancer research and strengthens the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) ability to tackle potential disruptions and shortages of vital medicines, including those for cancer.

March 12, 2024

The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is closely following cases before the United States Supreme Court that have the potential to significantly impact the delivery of cancer care in the U.S. by reshaping the authority of the federal agencies that regulate health care in the country. The Court is expected to issue rulings in these cases before its current session ends in June 2024.

March 11, 2024

Congress passed a six-part spending bill on March 8, 2024, that funds several government agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), through Sept. 30, 2024—the end of the fiscal year.