National Comprehensive Cancer Network



About NCCN

NCCN and UnitedHealthcare Collaboration Benefits Patients

UNITEDHEALTHCARE BECOMES FIRST COMPANY TO BASE CHEMOTHERAPY DRUG COVERAGE ON NATIONAL COMPREHENSIVE CANCER NETWORK COMPENDIUM

  • NCCN Compendium provides independent source for chemotherapy coverage decisions
  • Reflects UnitedHealthcare's commitment to evidence-based medicine by partnering with leading medical societies and physician organizations

MINNEAPOLIS – (Jan. 16, 2008) – UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, announced that, effective March 15, it will base its benefit coverage for chemotherapy drugs used in outpatient settings on the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Drugs and Biologics Compendium.

The NCCN, an alliance of 21 of the nation's leading cancer centers, is an authoritative source of information to help patients and health professionals make informed decisions about cancer care. The NCCN's compendium recommends drugs and biologics for the major types of FDA-approved disease indications and specific NCCN panel recommendations. 

The development of NCCN information is based on the independent evaluation of available scientific evidence integrated with the expert judgment of leading clinicians.  Compendium recommendations are derived from the NCCN Guidelines™, a widely-used source of information recognized as the standard of care for oncology in the United States.

Bill McGivney, Ph.D., NCCN CEO, said: "We are pleased that UnitedHealthcare is the first company to choose the NCCN's compendium as the basis for its guidelines in reimbursing for chemotherapy drugs administered in an outpatient setting. The compendium is developed based on the explicit evaluation of available scientific evidence integrated with the expert judgment of multidisciplinary panels of expert physicians from NCCN member institutions. The breadth and scope of this collaborative effort represents a significant advance beyond any previously developed guidelines.  As a result, the NCCN guidelines have become the most widely used in oncology practice."

Previously, UnitedHealthcare based its chemotherapy-drug policies on a range of medical literature resources, which, according to Lee Newcomer, M.D., UnitedHealthcare's senior vice president, oncology, has been standard in the industry.

The NCCN Drugs and Biologics Compendium guidelines recommend the most appropriate therapy based on clinical evidence and the consensus of leading academic cancer centers.  They suggest the correct diagnostic evaluation, such as scans, X-rays and lab tests, optimal therapy – drug, X-ray or surgery – as well as appropriate follow-up tests.

"UnitedHealthcare is the first national health plan to incorporate National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines into our chemotherapy-drug benefit," said Dr. Newcomer.  "Our collaboration with NCCN reflects UnitedHealthcare's commitment to partner closely with the nation's leading independent medical societies and physician organizations in order to ensure our members receive quality, evidence-based care.

"This new policy provides clinicians, patients and our customers with a respected, independent reference source for use in making chemotherapy coverage decisions," Dr. Newcomer added.  "It is one of several programs launched after UnitedHealthcare established a dedicated oncology team in 2005 to improve the quality of oncology care for our members. NCCN guidelines are a trusted source of treatment recommendations, and we value the fact that they are publicly available for both physicians and patients."

UnitedHealthcare will update its chemotherapy-drug policies in conjunction with monthly updates made by the NCCN to its compendium.  UnitedHealthcare is currently communicating this change in drug policy regarding use of the compendium to its network of physicians. Complete information is available on the company's physician portal at www.unitedhealthcareonline.com.

About UnitedHealthcare
UnitedHealthcare (www.unitedhealthcare.com) provides a full spectrum of consumer-oriented health benefit plans and services.  The company organizes access to quality, affordable health care services on behalf of more than 26 million individual consumers, contracting directly with more than 550,000 physicians and care professionals and 4,800 hospitals nationwide to offer them broad, convenient access to services nationwide.  UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.

About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of 27 of the world's leading cancer centers, is dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care provided to patients with cancer. 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. As the arbiter of 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. The primary goal of all NCCN initiatives is to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of oncology practice so patients can live better lives. For more information, visit NCCN.org.

The NCCN Member Institutions are:

  • Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center
  • Case Comprehensive Cancer Center/University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute
  • City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer 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
  • Roswell Park Cancer Institute
  • 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
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center
  • UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • University of Colorado Cancer Center
  • University of Michigan Comprehensive 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