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ASCO State/Regional Affiliates: A Year in Review

Dec 13, 2010

December 2010: While ASCO represents oncologists on the national level, the Society’s state and regionally based affiliates represent the needs of this constituency on the local level. Aligning ASCO’s resources for the common good of oncologists is one way to influence the ever-changing face of health care. Recently, the directors of ASCO’s State/Regional Affiliates were invited to share the latest accomplishments and upcoming priorities of their local organization.


Association of Northern California Oncologists (ANCO)
ANCO, in cooperation with the Medical Oncology Association of Southern California (MOASC), organized a series of webcasts in October and early November 2010, titled, Business of Oncology 2010 and Beyond. The webcasts were designed to address practice management needs identified in ANCO's, An Economic Assessment of ANCO Member Practices, including patient financial counseling, evaluating the costs of doing business, correct coding, participation in revenue enhancement programs, and alternative reimbursement systems.

The Assessment found that many practices—both large and small—have not optimized their procedures in these areas and that this, in combination with reduced reimbursement, puts them at risk for survival. A national faculty addressed each of these needs in a stand-alone webcast following by discussion.

ANCO will continue to focus on practice management issues in 2011, as well as move forward on value-based reimbursement initiatives with local third-party payers.

—Jose Luis Gonzalez, Executive Director


Florida Society of Clinical Oncology (FLASCO)
FLASCO, under the leadership of Gerald J. Robbins, MD, of Florida Cancer Institute, started a series of face-to-face meetings with leaders of major insurance companies to address their plans of managing chemotherapy expenses and the potential implications on oncology practices. This effort, spearheaded by Thomas A. Marsland, MD, of Orange Park Cancer Center, generated a position paper published in the Journal of Oncology Practice (JOP), titled, “Reducing Cancer Costs and Improving Quality Through Collaboration with Payers: A Proposal from the Florida Society of Clinical Oncology.”

The number of FLASCO educational offerings to members and pharmaceutical partners was expanded by adding Business of Oncology conferences. FLASCO reached out to colleagues from Puerto Rico, as both areas fall under the same Medicare Administrative Contractors (MAC) jurisdiction, and held a Business of Oncology conference in that area, which was well received and well attended.

FLASCO partnered with ASCO in sponsoring a Young Investigator Award (YIA) for a fellow or junior faculty from a Florida institution, and partnered with the Mayo Clinic in co-sponsoring a research scholarship program for Florida and Puerto Rico hematology/oncology fellows as part of the Mayo Clinic Hematology/Oncology Reviews.

Finally, FLASCO held its second annual oncology Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant (ARNP/PA) conference, which was started with an ASCO State Affiliate Grant, in collaboration with Mount Sinai Cancer Center in Miami.

In 2011, FLASCO will continue working to expand its membership and increase membership engagement among state community oncologists, ARNPs/PAs, and academic medical centers. It will also increase advocacy efforts in collaboration with pharmaceutical, academic, and patient advocate groups. Continuing and enhancing educational efforts and further developing relationships with colleagues from Puerto Rico will also be pursued. Ongoing efforts to enhance the FLASCO Clinical Trials Network, which was also started with support from an ASCO grant, in collaboration with the University of Florida, will continue. The Third Annual ARNP/PA Conference in collaboration with Moffitt Cancer Institute will take place March 2011.

—Dorothy Green Phillips, Executive Director


Georgia Society of Clinical Oncology (GASCO)
GASCO was able to increase its membership, participation by sponsors, and the number of partnerships in the cancer care community by providing new education programs, effective advocacy with payers, and embracing new constituents in creating the Cancer Patient Navigators of Georgia. GASCO’s licensed Best of ASCO® curriculum, its Business of Oncology Session, and the support of Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University and the Medical College of Georgia resulted in the best attended and most successful GASCO Annual Meeting to date.

"Our attendance [at GASCO's licensed Best of ASCO meeting] was five times greater than our previous two meetings and more than three times greater than any meeting the Society has ever had," said GASCO Executive Director Russell B. Still. "This was due in part to the speakers and heavy participation from our regional academic centers. However, the reason the physicians attended was in large part due to the fact that the information was coming from the recent ASCO Annual Meeting. This gave the event a level of credibility that we could not establish on our own," he added.

GASCO’s most important priority is to remain relevant to the cancer care community of Georgia in a dynamic atmosphere. In 2011, the Society will review the newly revised Georgia Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan to determine how GASCO and its partners can reach this goal. With a change in leadership this year, the new president and Board members will review the trends in delivery and financing of high-quality cancer services to help with GASCO’s strategic planning.

—Karen M. Beard, CPC, CHCC, Director


Michigan Society of Hematology and Oncology (MSHO)
In observance of MSHO’s 25th anniversary, Society leadership gathered for a day-long Strategic Planning Retreat to reexamine the mission, core values, and goals of the Society.

The Board of Directors determined the following major priorities for MSHO in 2011:

  • To be recognized as the champion of exemplary care for patients with cancer and/or blood disorders through educational offerings and support for research. Strategies include: increasing communication to its members, cancer stakeholders, and law-makers; developing a consensus statement on cancer and blood disorder best practices; and using MSHO resources to publish and distribute information on cancer and blood disorders to appropriate audiences.
  • To heighten advocacy efforts and education for its membership and the public on issues regarding access to and delivery of exemplary care for patients with cancer and blood disorders. Strategies include networking with other state societies for effective tactics; engaging with national organizations; and identifying resources to track legislation that is important to members.
  • To promote the specialty of hematology and oncology. Strategies include hosting medical student preceptorships; staging seminars for senior fellows; having MSHO serve as a clearinghouse for fellows’ job recruitment; and populating MSHO Facebook with practice/member professional success stories.
  • To support the association’s sustainability by reorganizing and expanding current revenue sources. Strategies include: developing a tiered corporate dues structure; conducting a detailed financial analysis of current MSHO educational offerings and services; investigating how to expand membership to other disciplines; and considering the recruitment of corporate members other than pharmaceutical companies.

—Mary Malloy, CAE, Executive Director


Northern New England Clinical Oncology Society (NNECOS)
NNECOS’ most important new undertaking in 2010 was the project, Collaborative Sharing of QOPI® Data to Develop Best Practices, funded in part by an ASCO State Affiliate Grant. Under the leadership of NNECOS Past President Andrew Allan Hertler, MD, FACP, six practices from across Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont have been working in a collegial and collaborative relationship, providing maximum opportunity for sharing of best practices. A final meeting after the second QOPI collection round will provide results of efforts and enable continued opportunities for best practices, development, and improvement of quality for all.

In 2011, NNECOS will undertake a sustainability and revitalization project that will begin with a survey of its members and constituents. It will inquire: “How can NNECOS be more valuable to you and your institution?” The data collected will be reviewed in the context of the Society’s reaffirmed mission and vision and utilized to shape activities, initiatives, and resources to assist oncology care teams from across the region to accomplish their goals.

—Lori Aubrey, Executive Director


Nebraska Oncology Society (NOS)
NOS’ greatest accomplishments in 2010 included tripling its membership, introducing corporate membership opportunities, and providing CME-approved educational reviews. The affiliate’s major priorities in 2011 include holding a successful San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium Review, scheduled for January 15, 2011, and increasing community awareness of NOS in the coming year.

—Natalie C. Mandolfo, MSN, APRN-NP, Executive Director

2009-2010 State Affiliate Grants accepted by (left to right): James N. Frame, MD (West Virginia Oncology Society); Vincent J. Picozzi, Jr., MD, MMM (Washington State Medical Oncology Society); Andrew A. Hertler, MD (Northern New England Clinical Oncology Society); Sukumar Ethirajan, MD (Kansas Society of Clinical Oncology); Stephen L. Davidson, MD (Alabama Cancer Congress); 2009-2010 ASCO President Douglas W. Blayney, MD (front).


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