March 28, 2017
Jen Marie Robustelli

ASCO State Of Cancer Report & More | Oncology Download March 28, 2017

ASCO State of Cancer report—Patients skip or delay cancer treatments—Changes for OCM reporting

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Every Tuesday morning, we send the Oncology Download newsletter out to thousands of oncology professionals. The newsletter is designed to be skimmable for the busy professional—our team curates 3-5 top stories from policy, research, industry, and mainstream media sources, and summarize these stories with takeaways geared toward cancer professionals dedicated to using data and technology to improve the lives of cancer patients. 

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ASCO’s “State of Cancer Care in America” report is out; highlights progress and continued access to care challenges

This year’s report highlights progress in cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care delivery, leading to increased numbers of cancer survivors and reduced incidence and mortality rates for many common cancers.

Listed under “progress and opportunity” in the report: 

  • Precision medicine and immunotherapy
  • Real-world evidence and data sharing
  • Practice transformation (value-based payment reform sparked by MACRA, including MIPS, APMs, OCM)

The challenges? The usual suspects for patients—rising cost of care, health insurance coverage, and disparities in care. For physicians, more patients (2% increase in cancer diagnoses from 2015-16), workforce stressors to adapt and meet the needs of that patient influx, and administrative and cost-saving burdens on their practices.

ACS study finds sharp rise in colon cancer and rectal cancer rates among young adults (even as overall diagnosis rates drop)

While the diagnosis rate of colon and rectal cancer has dropped overall by 32%, it’s not all good news.

A study led by American Cancer Society researchers finds that new cases of colon cancer and rectal cancer are occurring at an increasing rate among young and middle-aged adults in the US. Once age is taken into account, those born in 1990 have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer compared to people born around 1950, when risk was lowest. When all ages are combined, the rate of diagnosis has dropped, but that drop is due to the older population and increased screening.

Former Vice President Joe Biden appeals to tech crowd at the 2017 SXSW conference: “The only bipartisan thing left in America is the fight against cancer”

Speaking to a crowd of technology entrepreneurs, former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, continued the conversation about how they plan to “end cancer as we know it” by continuing the work started with the White House Cancer Moonshot.

The talk emphasized the need for public and private organizations to collaborate resources and data to accelerate cancer research, prevention, treatment, and innovation. Meanwhile, President Trump just proposed a budget that includes cutting $5.8 billion, or 18 percent, from the National Institutes of Health, which funds thousands of researchers working on cancer and other diseases. Biden’s full, hour-long talk is at the link.

As drug costs soar, people delay or skip cancer treatments

The cost of financial toxicity extends beyond bankruptcy for patients—and is leading some patients to skip or reduce their cancer treatments.

Some harrowing data points from the article:

  • A third of Medicare patients who were expected to use Gleevec—a lifesaving leukemia medication that can cost up to $146,000 a year—failed to fill prescriptions within six months of diagnosis (Journal of Clinical Oncology).
  • Mortality rates among cancer patients who filed for bankruptcy are 79% higher than those of other patients (2016, Journal of Clinical Oncology).
  • Four years after diagnosis, one-third of previously employed breast cancer survivors were unemployed (2014, National Center for Biotechnology Information). In many cases, losing a job is more than losing income—it’s also losing health insurance.

More reporting changes for the CMS Oncology Care Model

The OCM is one of the CMS Innovation Center’s specialty care value-based payment initiatives.

In response to provider and vendor feedback, CMS recently announced some updates to the OCM Data Registry reporting requirements. Our team at Cota summarized these changes and what they mean for program participants.

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