Medical Cures Bill Unanimously Passes House Panel

The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday unanimously approved a medical cures bill shortly after reaching a bipartisan $13 billion deal to pay for the legislation.

“That is an amazing accomplishment,” Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), said, noting that he had been on the committee for 28 years and had never before seen a major bill pass without a single “nay” vote. (more…)

340B Drug Pricing Debate Pits Hospitals Against Doctors Against Big Pharma

Depending on how much the program is reformed, it could mean the difference of hundreds of millions of dollars for participating hospitals.

As the Obama Administration mulls changes to the federal 340B drug discount program, hospital systems are looking to preserve the current model while independent docs and drug companies lobby for reforms. (more…)

Appalling $187 Million Cancer Charity Fraud Case Settles — When 97% Of Money Isn’t For Charity

In a rare cooperative effort, the Federal Trade Commission and 58 state and local law enforcement agencies charged four sham cancer charities and their operators with scamming well-meaning consumers out of $187 million. The joint action by the FTC and the states says James T. Reynolds Sr., his ex-wife and son raised the money through their charities: The Cancer Fund of America in Knoxville, Tennessee, and its affiliated Cancer Support Services; The Breast Cancer Society in Mesa, Arizona; and the Children’s Cancer Fund of America in Powell, Tennessee. (more…)

Hospitals Urge Congress to Protect 340B Program

Savings allow safety net hospitals to provide care to the neediest patients in their communities.

The 340B Drug Pricing Program is “a lifesaver for low-income patients” and critical to maintaining the nation’s health care safety net, hospital leaders stressed today, and, in a letter to Congress, called any legislation that might change the program “premature.” (more…)

Rising Cost of Specialty Drugs Concerns Employers

Rising drug costs have always been a concern to employers, but one major driver of health care costs might be drug spending that’s not even part of your pharmacy benefit.

Specialty drugs have emerged as a significant concern for employer-sponsored health plans, because these costs are often hidden in medical claims, rather than pharmaceutical billing, and because they often are extremely expensive. Specialty drugs that treat multiple sclerosis, cancer, or heart disease can range in cost from $50,000 to more than $100,000 a year. And because they are often administered in clinics or hospitals, they fall under medical benefit claims 47 percent of the time, according to data in a brief by Health Affairs. (more…)

Cancer Advocates Attend National Conference

CPAN Awards Honor Outstanding Advocates and Chapters

WASHINGTON, D.C. May 20, 2015 – Community Oncology Alliance Patient Advocacy Network (CPAN) advocates from across the United States attended the Annual Community Oncology Conference, April 23-24, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. This marked the fifth year that patient advocates attended the meeting. Patients, survivors, and advocates from across the country gathered to learn about the national issues affecting community oncology and their impact on access to local care. (more…)

Community Oncology Alliance Pharmacy Associations (COPA) Names Advisory Board

Continuity of Care, Development of Standards, Measuring Quality of Care Are Designated Priorities

WASHINGTON, D.C. May 19, 2015 – The Community Oncology Alliance (COA), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving access to community cancer care, and the Community Oncology Pharmacy Association (COPA) announced the appointment of its Advisory Board. Josh Cox and Tommy Harwood will serve as Advisory Board Co-Chairs. Board members include: (more…)

Pennsylvania Insurer Wrongfully Passed Sequestration Cuts Through to Providers

Pennsylvania judge found, on May 6, 2015, that a Medicare Advantage Plan had no right under its participation agreements to pass CMS sequestration reductions through to participating providers. Judge R. Stanton Wettick Jr. in the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas granted summary judgment to a group of hospitals that sued Highmark Inc. and its affiliate Keystone Health Plan West, Inc. for passing along the 2% sequestration payment cut. (more…)

4 Cancer Charities Are Accused of Fraud

There were subscriptions to dating websites, meals at Hooters and purchases at Victoria’s Secret — not to mention jet ski joy rides and couples’ cruises to the Caribbean.

All of it was paid for with the nearly $200 million donated to cancer charities, and was enjoyed by the healthy friends and family members of those running the groups, in what government officials said Tuesday was one of the largest charity fraud cases ever. (more…)

Study Suggests Dense Breast Tissue Isn’t Always a High Cancer Risk

A new study offers help to patients and doctors who are trying to deal with mammogram results that many women consider troubling and confusing: the finding of “dense” breast tissue.

Not only is breast density linked to an increased risk of cancer, it also makes cancer harder to detect because dense tissue can hide tumors from X-rays. But the new research indicates that not all women with dense breasts are at very high risk. (more…)