National Comprehensive Cancer Network

About NCCN

An Update on NCCN/NBGH Initiative to Develop Evidence-Based Cancer Treatment Recommendations: Year 3

Elizabeth Danielson, MHA, Director, Payer & Employer Initiatives

For the past two years, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) has worked with The National Business Group on Health (NBGH) to develop An Employer's Guide to Cancer Treatment & Prevention. The Guide addresses issues related to cancer across the continuum of care, including prevention and wellness; medical, pharmacy, and behavioral health benefits; employee assistance programs (EAPs); and disability and family medical leave. Recommendations are supported by evidence and knowledge from a wide range of experts so that employers using the Guide can be confident that benefit dollars are invested wisely and meet the needs of employees and their dependents.

The entire set of tools that make up the Guide can now be found on NCCN.org. Of particular interest is Tool 2 as it includes all benefit recommendations, the rationale for them, and detailed administrative guidance.

This project will benefit individuals who have employer-sponsored benefits, as well as treating physicians and nurses who care for individuals with cancer. The project advances understanding among employers about the importance of offering comprehensive coverage for evidence-based cancer treatment and clinical trials; access to needed care, whether in the community or at an NCI-designated cancer center; and coverage for services prior to cancer treatment, such as fertility treatment, when relevant.

In 2013, the third and final year of the project, work will focus on wellness, cancer risk reduction, cancer screening, and beneficiary communications—strategies and resources to help individuals make informed decisions and cope with their own or a loved one's cancer diagnosis.

A beneficiary communication resource, The Cancer Benefits and Resource Guide, will be posted on the NCCN and NBGH websites this Autumn. Once available, employers will be able to  customize the tool with their company's name and logo and edit it to include employer-specific benefit information.  When the Guide is customized, it will provide employees with information they need to know about employer-sponsored benefits and services that are likely to be useful during the continuum of cancer-related care as depicted below—from prevention and screening through survivorship or end of life.

This Guide will also provide links to credible, recognized sources of information and support for employees dealing with their own or a loved one's cancer diagnosis and/or treatment. By making informed decisions, patients can feel more in control and will have a better chance of good outcomes, benefitting both employees and employers.

Content Overview for The Cancer Benefits and Resource Guide
Patients need to make several important decisions fairly quickly after being diagnosed with cancer. The decisions they make will have a significant impact on their quality of care and quality of life, as well as how they handle recovery or an incurable cancer. Topics addressed include:

  • Understanding your diagnosis
  • Choosing your doctor
  • Considerations on getting a second opinion
  • Deciding what treatment is right for you
  • Questions to ask your doctor
  • Understanding your health plan and other benefits
  • Finding resources for support and guidance
  • Planning ahead (the importance of completing an advance directive, durable power of attorney and will)
  • Dealing with work-related issues (including workplace accommodation, leave options, returning to work, what to say to coworkers)
  • Recovery and survivorship

The Cancer Benefits and Resource Guide will also address issues relevant for employees who are dealing with a loved one's cancer, including the impact of taking on a caregiver role, as well as cancer risk reduction, recommended cancer screening, and understanding when genetic counseling is appropriate.

A companion document will focus on the needs of employers and include information to help supervisors and managers address workplace challenges. Supervisors and managers need information and resources to help them manage issues that may arise when a member of the work team is dealing with his or her own or a loved one's cancer diagnosis or other serious or chronic illness.

About the National Business Group on Health

The National Business Group on Health (the Business Group) is the nation's only non-profit organization devoted exclusively to representing large employers' perspective on national health policy issues and providing practical solutions to its members' most important health care and health benefits challenges. Business Group members are primarily Fortune 500 companies and large public-sector employers–representing the nation's most innovative health care purchasers–that provide health coverage for more than 40 million U.S. workers, retirees and their families. The Business Group fosters the development of a safe, high-quality health care delivery system and treatments based on scientific evidence of effectiveness. Business Group members share strategies for controlling health care costs, improving patient safety and quality of care, increasing productivity and supporting healthy lifestyles. For more information, visit www.businessgrouphealth.org.