COA Statement on Dr. Price for HHS Secretary

COA Looks Forward to Working with HHS Secretary Nominee Dr. Tom Price on Strengthening Our Nation’s Cancer Care Delivery System

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Community Oncology Alliance (COA), rx I want to express our support for my fellow Georgian and physician Dr. Tom Price as he assumes the position of Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).

As the first physician to lead HHS in over two decades, Dr. Price understands firsthand the challenges that America’s physicians face and the impact – often adverse – that Federal policy has on patient care. In Congress, Dr. Price has always been responsive to, knowledgeable about, and supportive of cancer care issues and clearly understands the vital role that community oncology plays in our nation’s cancer care delivery system.  We anticipate a close working relationship with him and his staff.

As Secretary of HHS, Dr. Price will face the important task of ensuring that every American has access to the highest quality medical care close to home, that is affordable for both seniors and Medicare.  This includes examining several now-proven ill-advised Medicare policies that have been enacted in recent years, and have increasingly threatened the stability of our cancer care system.  Most notably, is the inappropriate Medicare application of the sequester cut to the underlying cost of cancer drugs.  This policy has further driven a dramatic consolidation of our cancer care system, resulting in an increase of billions of dollars in costs annually to seniors and Medicare.

As evidenced by its many initiatives, COA and community oncology is completely committed to oncology payment reform that focuses on enhancing the quality of cancer care while increasing the efficiency and affordability for patients, Medicare, and private insurers.

Going forward, it will be critically important that patients have access to quality cancer care, regardless of pre-existing conditions, and that they be protected by annual and lifetime insurance caps, so that lives are not devastated paying for the increased cost of cancer care.

COA also very much looks forward to working with Seema Verma as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), particularly on the success of the Innovation Center’s (CMMI) oncology payment and delivery reform initiative, the Oncology Care Model (OCM).  COA has dedicated significant resources to helping oncology providers and payers succeed and thrive in implementing the OCM.  Earlier this year, COA launched an OCM support network that now has close to 75 percent of OCM participants exchanging best practice information and insight.

There are many in cancer care, but together in a cooperative spirit, we can overcome any hurdles.

Access the pdf version of letter here.