By Elizabeth Danielson, MHA, Director, Payor Relations and Patricia J. Goldsmith, Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer
Employers are increasingly concerned about and focused on the impact of cancer on their workforces. The impact of cancer in the workplace is becoming more prevalent as the workforce ages and as some types of cancer become chronic conditions. It's not just a matter of reining in costs, but rather of ensuring that employers and employees receive value for the money they spend on cancer care. Employers are concerned about supporting employees who are dealing with their own cancer diagnosis or that of a family member, but they are also concerned about this disease's impact on their overall workforce. A high priority is placed on retaining valued employees, and helping them – and their coworkers – remain productive and engaged during treatment or while providing care to a loved one with cancer.
To address these and other issues, NCCN has started work on a three-year initiative with the National Business Group on Health (NBGH) that will lead to a series of comprehensive resources and tools for large employers, including an Employer's Guide to Cancer Treatment and Prevention. This comprehensive set of tools and recommendations for the entire spectrum of employer-sponsored benefits and programs will be evidence-based; NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines™) will be an important basis of the evidence on many topics. Work will be guided by an advisory panel consisting of clinical experts, employee benefit executives and consultants, managed care and pharmaceutical industry leaders, disability and behavioral health experts, patient advocates, and others.
Why is this initiative so important? It is a unique opportunity to develop a comprehensive, evidence-based set of recommendations for large employers that serve as a laboratory for health benefit innovation. Large employers' successful innovations are often adopted by smaller employers, managed care organizations, and the public sector. Thus, the potential for impacting the quality and value of benefits is likely to extend far beyond the employees of the National Business Group on Health's 300 members. Likely outcomes will include: