By Elizabeth Danielson, MHA, Director, Payor Relations
In January 2011, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network®’s (NCCN®) announced its partnership with The National Business Group on Health (“NCCN/NBGH Initiative to Develop Evidence-Based Cancer Treatment Recommendations for Large Employers”). Since then, NCCN and Business Group staff and the project’s Advisory Committee have completed the first resource, the Quick Reference Guide and Assessment Tool, which can also be found at www.businessgrouphealth.org.
The Quick Reference Guide and Assessment Tool was developed to help employee benefit managers by providing a checklist of important cancer-related benefits that could be used to assess the adequacy of their current benefits. This tool is a “quick hits” resource and does not cover all of the important issues or address topics in detail.
The work group is now in the midst of developing the second resource: An Employer’s Guide to Cancer Treatment and Prevention, a comprehensive set of tools to help benefits managers deal effectively with the challenges that affect both employees with cancer and their caregivers. This type of resource does not currently exist.
The Guide is intended to provide a “plug and play” toolkit that can be used during an employer’s annual benefits cycle, which includes benefit planning and design, budgeting, request for proposal (RFP) development, vendor management, and plan administration. It will address a wide range of issues, with an emphasis on medical, pharmacy, and behavioral health benefits in 2011, and a focus on prevention and wellness, employee assistance programs, family medical leave, disability, and survivorship in 2012. Recommendations will be supported by evidence and knowledge from a wide range of experts, including the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines™) and the NCCN Drugs & Biologics Compendium (NCCN Compendium™), so that users of the Guide can be confident that their benefits dollars will be invested wisely.
The medical, pharmacy, and behavioral health components of the Guide will be posted on the Business Group website this summer (www.businessgrouphealth.org). This document will recommend benefits that employee benefits managers may not have considered, for example:
It will also address familiar issues, providing evidence to prompt benefit managers to consider modifications or enhancements related to issues such as:
Delving more deeply into these issues, it is clear that there is the opportunity to have a powerful impact on access to quality care and quality of life. Through collaboration between these two influential and respected organizations, NCCN can raise the bar on employer-sponsored benefits, make a real difference for cancer patients and their families, and increase the value of benefit expenditures for employers.