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National Comprehensive Cancer Network

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NCCN Summit Explores How Current Health Policies Help and/or Hinder the Coordination of High-Quality Cancer Care Delivery in the U.S.

National Comprehensive Cancer Network convenes Policy Summit to address changing care paradigms, and the impact across the cancer care continuum

Washington, D.C. [September 13, 2018] — Today, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) hosted a summit exploring the current health policy landscape in the United States, and what it means for the delivery and coordination of high-quality cancer care. The NCCN Oncology Policy Summit: Policy Challenges and Opportunities to Address Changing Paradigms in Cancer Care Delivery took place at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Experts from across the cancer care continuum discussed how current policies help or hinder optimal care delivery, with a focus on innovation, value-based models, the changing cancer care workforce, and coordination of care.

“NCCN encourages the creation and implementation of policies that enable better access to evidence-based cancer treatment,” said Robert W. Carlson, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NCCN. “The experts on the NCCN Guidelines® Panels weigh the best available evidence before recommending the best approaches for treating individuals with cancer. Health care policies should facilitate the delivery of these best approaches, not hinder them. ”

Cancer care needs to continuously evolve with advances in innovation and changes in related care delivery to ensure access and maximize quality and outcomes; related policies in the United States do not always keep pace with these needs. In response, NCCN convened a working group to suggest short- and long-term policy strategies for implementing best practices for overcoming the disconnect. Warren Smedley, MSHA, MSHQS, UAB Cancer Community Network, University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Leonidas C. Platanias, MD, PhD, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University presented the group’s findings during the summit.

“NCCN recognizes the need to provide increasingly higher value care to our patients by continuously striving to improve care, streamline processes, and reduce unnecessary utilization,” explained Smedley.  “To achieve this, we are emphasizing the need for greater transparency and availability of patient care data through the sharing and exchange of claims data from CMS and private payers, as well as greater functionality and interoperability for electronic health record systems.”

Smedley continued: “Effective value-based cancer care requires a holistic, team-based approach. Yet, current reimbursement practices do not typically recognize the value of the extended care team. With the looming shortage of physicians, we need to develop team-based payment models that support a broader skillset and greater diversity on the care team.”

Lee Newcomer, MD, MHA, who formerly oversaw oncology for UnitedHealthcare, gave a keynote address on how potentially negative consequences can arise out of good intentions.

"Society wants effective cancer therapies to be affordable,” said Dr. Newcomer. “Well-intended policies to guarantee access to pharmaceuticals have allowed prices to skyrocket. The tragedy of these policies is that those high prices are restricting access."

Drs. Newcomer and Platanias also participated in a panel discussion on innovative treatment and coordination of care, which also featured:

Another panel discussion, focused on delivery high-quality cancer care under value-based payment models, included Drs. Newcomer and Smedley as well as:

  • Christian G. Downs, MHA, JD, Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC)
  • Andrea E. Ferris, MBA, LUNGevity
  • John O’Shea, MD, The Heritage Foundation
  • Robert S. Saunders, PhD, Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy

Both panels were moderated by Clifford Goodman, PhD, of The Lewin Group.

NCCN will host its next policy summit on December 10th. It will focus on Patient Advocacy and Equity, and feature Lynette Bonar, RN, MBA, FACHE, CEO, Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation, who will give a keynote address on providing cancer care for the Navajo Nation. Visit NCCN.org/policy for more information and join the conversation online with the hashtag #NCCNPolicy.


About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) is a not-for-profit alliance of 28 leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education. NCCN is dedicated to improving and facilitating quality, effective, efficient, and accessible cancer care so patients can live better lives. Through the leadership and expertise of clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions, NCCN develops resources that present valuable information to the numerous stakeholders in the health care delivery system. By defining and advancing high-quality cancer care, NCCN promotes the importance of continuous quality improvement and recognizes the significance of creating clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers around the world.

The NCCN Member Institutions are:

  • Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center
  • Case Comprehensive Cancer Center/University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute
  • City of Hope National Medical Center
  • Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center | Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
  • Duke Cancer Institute
  • Fox Chase Cancer Center
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah
  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
  • The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins
  • Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University
  • Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Moffitt Cancer Center
  • The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute
  • O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB
  • Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine
  • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital/The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
  • Stanford Cancer Institute
  • UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center
  • UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • University of Colorado Cancer Center
  • University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center
  • The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center
  • Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
  • Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital