By Elizabeth Danielson, MHA, Director, Payor Relations
In December 2010, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) announced its collaboration with the National Business Group on Health to develop An Employer's Guide to Cancer Treatment & Prevention. The Guide will address issues related to cancer across the continuum of care (see figure, below), including prevention and wellness; medical, pharmacy and behavioral health benefits; employee assistance programs; and disability and family medical leave. Recommendations are supported by evidence and knowledge from a wide range of experts. Therefore, employers that use the Guide can be confident that their benefit dollars for cancer are being invested wisely and will meet the needs of employees and their dependents.
Several tools are now available:
The companion RFP Scoring Tool (Tool 3, part III), Vendor Contracting resource (Tool 4) and Evaluation and Plan Reporting Tool (Tool 5) will also be available later this month. In addition, a Summary Plan Description (SPD) resource will be posted in the near term.
The Benefit Design and Assessment Tool, RFP Tools, and Vendor Contracting and SPD Resources all focus on medical, pharmacy and behavioral health benefits. They provide specific recommendations, objectives, suggestions for coverage and employee cost-sharing, as well as "administrative guidance" to put each recommendation into context. Recommendations incorporate evidence-based clinical information from the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®), when applicable, and from other sources. RFP Tools are intended to simplify the process for employers and benefit consultants to obtain information from vendors, determine which vendors are most capable of implementing the benefits according to the employer's specifications, and then rating and ranking vendor responses.
The second year of this project focuses on "absence-related" benefits such as short- and long-term disability, Family Medical Leave and incidental absences, as well as Employee Assistance Program capabilities and caregiver needs. Work related to support resources for employees dealing with their own or a loved one's cancer risk or diagnosis will begin later this year and continue into 2013.
The collaboration between NCCN and the National Business Group on Health represents an opportunity to have a powerful impact. This project will raise the bar on employer-sponsored benefits, make a tangible difference for people with cancer and their families, and increase the value of benefit expenditures for employers.