Community Oncology Advocates Head to Capitol Hill

Community Oncology Advocates Head to Capitol Hill In Support of Local Cancer Care

More than 380 local cancer treatment practices have closed since 2008, forcing patients and their families to routinely travel farther for the care they need

Cancer care advocates from Community Oncology Alliance (COA) Patient Advocacy Network, or CPAN, are on Capitol Hill today asking Congress to support legislation that protects and advances community oncology.

Members of CPAN include patients in active treatment, cancer survivors, professional caregivers, family members, medical and oncology professionals, and members from the general community. They are active in CPAN chapters across the country working to support smart public policies that ensure the community cancer care system remains healthy and able to provide all American’s access to local, affordable cancer care.

CPAN advocates from 11 states and 18 cities are on Capitol Hill today urging their elected officials to support legislation that keep community cancer clinics open for those who need it them most – the nearly 1.7 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer every year and the more than 15 million cancer survivors alive today.

For cancer patients and their caregivers, being able to access treatment close to home, in their own communities, is critically important. This is becoming increasingly difficult as more than 380 community oncology clinics have closed since 2008, due in large part to poor legislation and policy decisions in Washington, DC. At the same time, hospitals have consolidated their dominance of the U.S. cancer care system, buying up or forcing local cancer clinics out of business, leaving fewer local options for cancer patients. When clinics close, patients have no choice but to seek care in the hospital setting, where the same treatment can cost 50 percent more for both patients and taxpayers.

“Community oncology clinics provide patients with high-quality, high-value care that’s close to their homes and families—something that’s vitally important when you’re undergoing treatment several times per week for many months or even years,” said Rose Gerber, director of patient advocacy and education for COA. “All too often it is patients who suffer the most from the unintended consequences of misguided public policies. That is why CPAN patient advocates are here today at in nation’s capital.”

Today, CPAN advocates are offering Congress their perspective on policymaking that empowers patients, including asking legislators to:

  1. Save the 340B program so that it helps patients and not hospitals;
  2. Protect cancer patients’ access to care in their communities by fixing the prompt pay error;
  3. Reform how the health care system pays for cancer care to improve outcomes and reduce costs.

The CPAN Hill Day event precedes the 2017 Community Oncology Conference taking place April 27-28 at the Gaylord National Hotel & Convention Center just outside of Washington, DC. The annual conference with more than 1,300 attendees provides a forum for oncology professionals to share insight and knowledge to fuel innovation and success in the field of community oncology.