FOR INFORMATION CONTACT:
Lori Gardner, Senior Director
Communications & Marketing
301.984.9496 ext. 226
For Immediate Release: July 14, 2011
Association of Community Cancer Centers Urges the President and Congress to Oppose $3 Billion Cut to Medicare Reimbursement
Deficit-Reduction Proposal Threatens to Reduce Patient Access to Community Cancer Care
ROCKVILLE, Md.—The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) joined with nine other groups in the oncology community to urge lawmakers to oppose a $3 billion funding cut to Medicare reimbursement for cancer drugs and biologics. The measure is proposed as part of the ongoing deficit-reduction and debt-ceiling discussions taking place between Congress and the White House.
“The proposed cuts would be devastating to the nation’s hospital-based cancer programs,” said ACCC President Thomas Whittaker, MD, FACP. “The reduction would further strain community cancer care and threaten patient access to state-of-the-art services.”
In a letter sent to Congressional leadership and the White House on July 14, ACCC joined others in the oncology community to ask that any cuts to Medicare reimbursement for cancer care be removed from the ongoing negotiations. The proposal would lower reimbursement for Part B drugs to Average Sales Price (ASP) plus 4 percent from the current ASP plus 6 percent.
As stated in the letter:
The cumulative effect of these cuts is compounded by the fact that chemotherapy agents are reimbursed at artificially low rates under Medicare because manufacturer-to-distributor prompt-pay discounts are included in the calculation of Average Sales Price (ASP). In recognition of the dire financial reality currently facing community oncology practices and the access impact to Medicare beneficiaries fighting cancer, more than 80 bipartisan Congressional leaders have co-sponsored HR 905 (Whitfield/Green) and S 733 (Stabenow/Roberts) to improve the viability of community cancer care. The cuts currently under consideration take the exact opposite direction from the changes these leaders recognize must be made to preserve the nation’s cancer care delivery system.
ACCC supports legislation to remove the prompt-pay discount from Medicare reimbursement calculations and supports two bills currently in Congress: HR 905 and S 733. These bills are bi-partisan and were introduced by Representatives Green (D-TX) and Whitfield (R-KY) in the House and Senators Stabenow (D-MI) and Roberts (R-KS) in the Senate. The bills would remove the prompt-pay discount from the ASP calculation, thus giving physicians a more accurate reimbursement for drugs, closer to the ASP plus 6 percent they should be getting based on the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act (MMA).
In addition to ACCC, nine other oncology groups signed the letter: the American Society for Clinical Oncology, Community Oncology Alliance, The US Oncology Network, National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, National Patient Advocate Foundation, Healthcare Distribution Management Association, UPMC Cancer Centers, AmerisourceBergen, and McKesson Corporation.