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ASCO Makes Recommendations for Closing Gaps on Cancer Care Disparities

Sep 07, 2011

In July, ASCO released a policy statementthat outlined specific provisionsof the 2010 Patient Protection andAffordable Care Act that have thepotential to reduce racial and economicdisparities in cancer prevention, diagnosis,and treatment in the United States.ASCO’s statement, which wasinitially published in the Journalof Clinical Oncology, identifies specificmeasures to help eliminate cancer caredisparities, including:
  • immediate Medicare eligibility forMedicaid patients who are diagnosedwith cancer;
  • coverage for follow-up testing andtreatment of any abnormalitiesfound in cancer screenings;
  • adopting patient-centered quality improvementinitiatives;
  • attracting more minority physiciansand improving the training of theoncology workforce;
  • improving data collection on cancerdisparities;
  • ensuring access to cancer specialistsfor all patients who seek treatmentat federally qualified communityhealth centers; and
  • allowing for cancer-centered servicesto be at the direction of oncologyprofessionals in community healthcenters and medical homes wheremany seek medical care.
“The Affordable Care Act provides afoundation for meaningful progress ineliminating disparities in health care,”said ASCO President Michael P. Link,MD. “However, many of its provisionsare vague and open for interpretation.In addition, significant progressrequires added measures that are notin the new law.”

For further insight,read a blog postby Beverly Moy, MD,MPH, Chair of ASCO’sAdvisory Group on Health Disparities.

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