Race, Insurance, and Practice Setting Influence Aggressiveness of End-of-Life Care
White patients with commercial insurance receiving care in a community setting are most likely to receive systemic anticancer therapy at the end of life, researchers reported in study findings published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Oncology Nursing Society and City Cancer Challenge Foundation Collaborate to Improve Access to Quality Cancer Care Around the World
ONS engaged in a new collaboration with City Cancer Challenge Foundation that will transform and improve access to quality cancer care at the local, regional, and global levels. The two organizations signed a collaborative agreement in October 2023 to support and sustain their joint work.
This Week's Advocacy News: 'How AI Can Make Cancer Treatment More Equitable'
The Cancer Moonshot plan identifies five priority areas, all of which artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to enhance. Two areas in particular lend themselves to AI: the call to "deliver the latest cancer innovations to patients and communities" and the aim of enhancing "the oncology model to place cancer patients at the center of decision-making."
Patients, Nurses, and Physicians Say Health Insurer Policies Reduce Access to Care
The vast majority of patients, nurses, and physicians said that insurer policies and practices are reducing access to medical care, driving up healthcare costs, and increasing clinician burden and burnout, the American Hospital Association reported in survey results released in July 2023.
Ibrutinib Is the First Anticancer Agent to Be Negotiated for Medicare Drug Pricing
The BTK inhibitor ibrutinib is one of the first 10 drugs covered under Medicare Part D eligible for price negotiation authorized through the Inflation Reduction Act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced in August 2023. Together, the 10 drugs accounted for 20% of Medicare Part D prescription drug costs during the 12-month period used to identify the initial group of negotiable agents. Medicare enrollees taking the 10 drugs covered under Part D selected for negotiation paid a total of $3.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs for the drugs in 2022.
Prescription Medication Legislation Helps Americans Access Affordable Care
In 2019, the mood was hopeful. As we looked ahead to the next decade, Republicans and Democrats in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate appeared to be at a consensus point on a major policy issue: access to affordable prescription medications for the American public.
Nurse Cosponsors Resolution on Telehealth in the U.S. House of Representatives
A geriatric nurse practitioner who served as a Navy helicopter pilot in the Persian Gulf through two deployments, U.S. Representative Jen Kiggans (R-VA) introduced new legislation that would allow more providers to use telehealth services, expanding access and reducing barriers for their patients.
White House Appoints Mandy Cohen as New CDC Director
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, both the Trump and Biden-Harris administrations used the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a primary authority to collect and disseminate information about the virus. Although the public initially lauded the agency’s efforts, the changing protocols and communication directions. In Washington, DC’s, often-polarizing political environment, CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, bore the brunt of the blame, and in May 2023, she announced her resignation effective June 30.
AYA Champions Clinic Fills Gaps in Care and Addresses Unmet Needs
Nearly all adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients with cancer who use the services of a population-specific clinic would recommend it to other AYAs with cancer, researchers reported during a session at the 48th Annual ONS Congress® in April 2023. They said that more than 90,000 AYAs aged 15–39 are diagnosed with cancer every year in the United States, a critical life stage in which cancer can deeply affect individuals’ social, developmental, educational, professional, and financial growth, making services like specialized clinics critical to an AYA patient population.
NIH Acting Director Shares Progress on Novel Nanoparticle for Childhood Cancer Brain Tumor
Noting the complexity of the human brain and brain tumors, Lawrence Tabak, DDS, PhD, acting director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), discussed in an April 2023 blog post the findings from a NIH-funded research that may suggest novel nanoparticles can help bypass the blood-brain barrier and deliver drugs to treat medulloblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer diagnosed in hundreds of children each year.
United States Lags Behind Other Nations in Health Care
Despite Americans spending more for health care than other high-income countries, the United States has the highest rates of death for avoidable or treatable conditions, maternal and infant mortality, and suicide, researchers reported in an analysis study published in January 2023 by the Commonwealth Fund.
Patients With Cancer Save More Than $150 Per Visit When Using Telehealth
Between travel time and expenses, missed work hours, and other factors, cancer care visits cost patients more than just a copay. A new study quantified the financial benefits of conducting those visits via telehealth versus in person, with researchers reporting that patients saved more than $150 in expenses and three hours in travel and waiting time per visit by using telehealth. They published their findings in JAMA Network Open.
Uninsured Rate at an All-Time Low After 2022 HealthCare.Gov Insurance Enrollment Breaks Records
Almost 11.5 million people signed up for healthcare insurance on HealthCare.gov from November 1–December 15, 2022, President Joe Biden announced in December 2022. Enrollment increased 18% over the same period in 2021.
Healthcare Economics Through the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and Beyond
Sick. Americans are literally sick of the financial burden vulnerable patients endure because of high out-of-pocket, healthcare-related costs. The complicated and convoluted issue has no easy solution.
Oncology Nurse Joins Panel to Discuss Solutions to Advance Equitable Cancer Care for the LGBTQ+ Community
ONS member Ryne Wilson, DNP, RN, OCN®, care coordinator at University of Minnesota Physicians, joined an expert panel to discuss policy solutions for advancing equitable cancer care for the LGBTQ+ community during the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Patient Advocacy Summit in December 2022. The panel focused on issues affecting LGBTQ+ people with cancer, including homophobia, transphobia, systemic racism, and social determinants of health.
NCI Awards $23 Million to Establish Centers to Study Telehealth for Cancer Care
Four academic institutions will create centers of excellence dedicated to telehealth in cancer care to help healthcare providers increase its use in oncology practice, thanks to $23 million in National Cancer Institute (NCI) funding. The awards are part of NCI’s Telehealth Research Centers of Excellence initiative, which is supported by President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative.
The PACT Act Improves Veterans’ Access to Cancer Care and Other Health Support
Veterans exposed to toxic substances in service will have more access to cancer care and other medical assistance thanks to the recently signed Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act. The PACT Act passed with bipartisan effort by Congress in August 2022 and later signed into law.
U.S. Senator Speaks About Prescription Medication Prices, Joined by ONS Chapter President
Pending legislation would help residents save on prescription drug costs by empowering Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, capping out-of-pocket costs, and limiting pharmaceutical price increases to the rate of inflation, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) said during a discussion with a plethora of healthcare professionals, including ONS member Heather Murphy, MSN, FNP, OCN®, president of the ONS Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts Chapter, about rising prescription drug prices at a Rhode Island conference in July 2022.
CDC Awards $215 Million to Advance President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot
To support the objectives of President Joe Biden’s relaunched Cancer Moonshot initiative, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded $215 million to three national cancer programs in June 2022. The funds are part of a $1.1 billion investment in cancer prevention and control.
CMS Expands Access to High-Quality Care With Physician Payment Rule Proposal
To decrease cost and increase access to care, in July 2022 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed a conversion factor of $33.08 for the 2023 Physician Fee Schedule.
Cost Can Prevent Patients From Receiving Follow-Up Care, Study Suggests
Financial considerations are notable barriers for patients with cancer receiving follow-up cancer care, according to study findings from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) All of Us Research Program.
Legislation and Cancer Care
Research and practice changes funded through healthcare legislation have influenced today’s care delivery across all settings: hospitals, clinics, and even homes. And with their constituents laser-focused on health in today’s pandemic society, legislators have never made that happen so quickly.
Oncology Care Model Created New Opportunities for APRNs to Transform Cancer Care
Launched in 2016 as a pilot program from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation Center to develop new payment and delivery system models, the Oncology Care Model had a lofty goal: drive improvements in providing high-quality and cost-effective care.
U.S. Supreme Court Dismisses Cases on Medicaid Requirement to Work
A pandemic is not the time to experiment with Medicaid work requirements, the Biden-Harris administration maintained in April 2022 when it urged officials in Arkansas and New Hampshire to cancel their U.S. Supreme Court hearing appeals regarding the Trump administration orders and send the matter back to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for further action.
Americans Have Stronger Access to Affordable Health Coverage Through New Biden Executive Order
An April 2022 Biden-Harris administration executive order on Continuing to Strengthen Americans’ Access to Affordable, Quality Health Coverage will protect and strengthen the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid. The order directed federal agencies and departments to review existing language and correct regulatory wording that might be inconsistent with the goals of offering more affordable access to health care.
More Patients Are Skipping Their Cervical Cancer Screenings
Nearly a quarter of patients who are eligible for cervical cancer screening are overdue for their current tests, researchers said in study findings published in JAMA Network Open. The number grew nearly 10% since 2005—representing a steady increase in missed screening over time—and was higher in different sociodemographic groups because of factors related to social determinants of health.
Teleoncology Addresses Health Disparities With High Satisfaction for Patients and Providers, NCI Shares
Virtual appointments and other telehealth care allow patients and families to have ready access to cancer care from the comfort of their own home, Kevin M. Curtis, MD, medical director of the Center for Telehealth at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health, said in a March 2022 National Cancer Institute (NCI) blog post praising the service. Curtis also highlighted telehealth’s role in addressing health disparities, its high satisfaction rate with both patients and clinicians, and the service’s future in cancer care research.
COVID-19 Contributes to Climbing Costs of Cancer Care
Cancer is one of the top five most expensive healthcare conditions to treat, costing the United States more than $157 billion annually. The payout from patients’ pockets may be even greater, with the cost of cancer medications alone standing at $895 billion per year. But paying for cancer during a pandemic? Even financially secure patients with healthcare coverage are struggling.
More Women Have Access to Essential Health Care, HHS Says During Women’s History Month
Healthcare organizations and agencies across the country, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), prioritized enhancing and expanding services like maternal and postpartum care and sexual and reproductive health during Women’s History Month, HHS announced in March 2022.
Home Care and Oncology Nurses Partner to Expand Ambulatory Options for Patients With Cancer
Home care is a patient-centered ambulatory care option that improves treatment adherence, symptom management, length of hospital stays, cost of care, psychosocial well-being, and quality of life. It is the future of care delivery, creating a “more accessible, effective, efficient, safe, and economical sustainable system.”
CMS Takes Action to Lower Out-of-Pocket Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Costs
Out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for beneficiaries with Medicare Part D could start to lower with improved price transparency and market competition thanks to a January 2022 proposed rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The rule, which would take effect on January 1, 2023, would improve beneficiaries’ experiences with Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D and work to improve health equity in the programs, according to CMS.
Marketplace Policy Changes Increase Access for Healthcare Coverage in 2023
Consumers will more easily find affordable healthcare coverage in 2023, thanks to the Biden-Harris administration’s December 2021 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters 2023 Proposed Rule, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The rule also improves shopping for healthcare coverage, establishes rules to ensure people have access to care, and advances health equity for consumers purchasing Marketplace coverage.
White House Initiative Addresses Disparities for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders
Advancing equity, justice, and opportunity for Asian American (AA) and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) communities in the United States requires an ambitious, whole-of-government agenda, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced in December 2021. To drive that agenda, the agency launched the Biden-Harris administration’s White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI).
Online and Mobile Resources Prepare Oncology Professionals for Care Delivery in All Settings
As cancer care delivery changes, oncology nurses step up to the challenge: they adapt and develop solutions to fuel the future of nursing education, certification, and practice. During the November 2021 ONS Hackathon™, launched in partnership with the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC), teams were tasked to identify methods that address issues in the delivery of cancer care and prepare the future nursing workforce to care for patients with cancer anywhere.
U.S. Invests in Historic Funding to Drive Equity in Health Care
Unprecedented new funding will expand and diversify the country’s healthcare workforce, address workforce shortages, and support more than 22,700 healthcare providers committed to working in underserved communities, according to a statement from the White House. Vice President Kamala Harris announced the $1.5 billion investment into the National Health Service Corps, Nurse Corps, and Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery programs in November 2021.
NIH Diversity Research Program Gets New Chief Medical and Scientific Officer
A pioneer and internationally recognized expert in translational genomics and precision medicine will guide the scientific vision, strategy, and data collection for the next phase of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) All of Us Research Program, the agency announced. In November 2021, NIH appointed Geoffrey Ginsburg, MD, PhD, to serve as the program’s chief medical and scientific officer.
Liver Cancer Diagnoses See Geographic, Racial, Income Disparities
The urban-rural disparity in hepatocellular cancer (HCC) diagnoses is widening, researchers said, particularly in certain racial, income, and age groups. The authors reported their study results in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
Oncology Nurses Share Successes and Challenges Adapting to Telehealth During COVID-19
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has forced healthcare providers to make unprecedented adjustments to patient care, including the pivot to telehealth. At a series of virtual events from October 2020–March 2021, ONS members shared their challenges, successes, and future needs to permanently adopt virtual cancer care visits.
Racism, Health Inequities, and Unequal Access to Care Are Oncology Nursing Research Priorities
Racial inequality persists across the entire healthcare spectrum—from patient disparities to the healthcare workforce’s current makeup and even to the education of the next generation of practitioners. But nurse scientists conducting clinical trials have the opportunity to change that.
CMS Launches Strategy to Drive Health System Transformation
Under a newly refreshed strategy, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Innovation Center is expanding models in the healthcare industry that reduce program costs and improving quality and outcomes for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, the agency announced in an October 2021 white paper.
Legislators Want Medicare to Negotiate Drug Prices to Improve Access and Affordability
Few political and policy issues resonate with all Americans as much as the costs of prescription medications, particularly those for acute and chronic diseases that affect the body and spirit, like cancer. Seizing the opportunity for real change, in August 2021 President Joe Biden made a major announcement about his administration’s intent to change the dynamic on the financial impact of drugs and government oversight.
Biden-Harris Administration Invests in Health Care for Rural Communities, Provides $19 Million for Telehealth Opportunities
Despite its now-widespread use, telehealth still poses barriers for many patients, such as limited access in rural areas and privacy concerns. In August 2021, the Biden-Harris administration announced the investment of billions of dollars to meet immediate COVID-19 needs and help improve hospital care to rural communities. The funding includes more than $19 million in telehealth to improve the initiative in rural and underserved communities.
U.S. Supreme Court Upholds ACA Again
After a decade and three legal challenges that culminated in another U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold the law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ([ACA], commonly known as Obamacare) is currently established canon. On June 17, 2021, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled in favor of the defendants in the case of California et al. v. Texas et al., maintaining ACA’s constitutionality. It was a firm 7-2 decision.
What It’s Like to Compete in the ONS Hackathon™
When ONS reached out and asked me to participate in the inaugural ONS Hackathon, I wasted no time in confirming my interest. I had heard of hackathons before but never a nursing-specific one. It was an exciting experience full of growth for me and the other oncology nurses who participated.
CMS Innovation Center Uses Past Achievements to Build Future Goals
Innovative, affordable, and accountable care are the key to transforming the healthcare system to achieve health equity, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center’s 10-year plan, which the center announced on August 12, 2021.
6.8 Million Individuals Enroll in CHIP Prior to Program’s 24th Anniversary
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra celebrated the Children’s Health Insurance Program’s (CHIP’s) 24th anniversary on August 4, 2021, a program that “for more than two decades, has been a lifeline for millions of children and families across America,” with an incredible announcement: in 2020 and 2021, CHIP provided more than 6.8 million enrolled individuals with coverage during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Program Helps Communities to Bridge the Digital Divide in Clinical Care
Nurses and other members of the healthcare community have both the power and responsibility to reduce disparities in access to telehealth services, Mark Rastetter, MD, Cynthia J. Sieck, PhD, MPH, and Rose Grady, FNP, said during a session held at the ONS BridgeTM virtual conference on September 14, 2021. They shared their experience creating digital equity among patients using telehealth at Ohio State University’s (OSU’s) Wexner Medical Center.
Hope in Rare Cancers: Care Is Complex, but Oncology Nurses Are Making a Difference
As individual diseases, cancer diagnoses like pheochromocytoma (cancer of the adrenal gland), neuroendocrine cancers, and malignant mixed Mullerian tumors (also called carcinosarcomas) are rare, but collectively they’re more common than breast, colon, lung, or prostate cancer.
Study Ranks U.S. Healthcare Industry Dead Last Among Other High-Income Countries
The United States is worst among 11 high-income countries in delivery of and access to health care, according to an August 2021 study conducted by the Commonwealth Fund, despite spending the most, by far, of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health care than other countries surveyed. The survey used indicators across domains on access to care, care process, administrative efficiency, equity, and healthcare outcomes to compare healthcare system performance. Overall, the top-performing countries were Norway, the Netherlands, and Australia.
American Rescue Plan Lowers Costs for More Than 1.5 Million Americans During Special Enrollment Period
When President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law in March 2021, the administration began working to make improvements in areas such as access and affordability by increasing eligibility for financial assistance. The new law lowered premiums for most people who currently had a Marketplace health plan and expanded access to financial assistance for more consumers, and data published in July 2021 showed that from February 15–June 30, 2021, more than 1.5 million Americans signed up for new health insurance coverage using the 2021 Marketplace Special Enrollment Period (SEP).