California   Oncology  Weekly
"Where California Oncologists Go For Answers!"
A collaborative publication of the
Medical Oncology Association of Southern California, Inc.
and the
Association of Northern California Oncologists, Inc .
September 10, 2019

This Weekly's Hot Topics
  • Legislature refuses to pass coverage of IVF for diseases such as cancer. California News
  • Most cancer survivors not getting the support they need. National News
  • If you don't want to lose patient assistance programs, send YOUR DATA BEFORE September 15th. Affiliate Association News

California News
This year the California Legislature once again refused to pass a bill requiring insurers to provide broad coverage of in vitro fertilization. But a more tightly targeted bill is advancing and headed for a final vote: It aims to clarify that insurers must cover the cost of preserving eggs, sperm or embryos for patients whose treatment for diseases such as cancer could destroy their ability to have children. Neither, however, would benefit the one-third of low-income Californians who receive their health care through the state-administered Medi-Cal program. The average cost for in vitro fertilization is $10,000 to $15,000, with an additional $5,000 to $7,000 for medication.
The so-called Death Certificate Project initiated by the Medical Board of California that began in 2015 has now resulted in formal accusals of wrongdoing filed against 64 physicians related to their drug prescribing, primarily involving opioids, newly updated records show. Five of the 64 have surrendered their licenses; six others were put on probation, and eight received public reprimands.
The California Medical Association (CMA) will host a webinar entitled Medicare Changes: What Physicians Need to Know About 2020 Changes to Audits and Reimbursements and Other Updates on October 10 at 12:15PM. Register at
The U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco announced charges against 30 defendants accused of a major Bay Area Medicare fraud scheme involving millions of dollars in illegal kickbacks to health care professionals from the region's largest home health care provider. Ridhima "Amanda" Singh, CEO of Hayward-based Amity Home Health Care and Advent Care hospice, allegedly bribed doctors, nurses and other health care professionals to receive patient referrals through Medicare, growing her company into the largest home health care provider in the Bay Area.

Noridian News 

Noridian/JEMAC has the following updates on their website
New Medicare Card: Do You Refer Patients?; Quality Payment Program: MIPS Targeted Review Request Deadline September 30; SNF PPS Patient Driven Payment Model: Get Ready for Implementation on October 1. 
2020 Annual Update of Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) Codes for Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Consolidated Billing (CB) Update; October 2019 Update of the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS)

Open Door Forum-September 11; Developing a Hospice Patient Assessment Tool Special Open Door Forum-September 12
* Diagnostic and Therapeutic Colonoscopy-R11
* Education Events in September
* HCPCS Codes for SNF CB Update-2020 Annual Update CR11441
Forthcoming Noridian JEMAC meetings/webinars/workshops:
* Reopenings Webinar (September 12)
* Recovery Auditor Program Webinar (September 12)
* Submitting Your Enrollment Online-Part 2 (PECOS) Webinar (September 18)
* Modifier 59, NCCI and MUEs Webinar (September 18)
* Eligibility Claim Denials and Rejections Webinar (October 3)
* Common Errors on all Application Types Webinar (October 9)
* Using the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier Webinar (October 16)
For more information and to register visit:

MOASC News  

- ATTENTION PHYSICIANS, NURSES, PHARMACISTS AND ALL CLINICAL STAFF! Save the date for the MOASC LunchTime Series webinar, "The Venetoclax CLL Scientific Story," Wednesday, September 25th at 12:00pm Pacific time. The webinar will include:
1.      A review of the indications and important safety information for Venetoclax.
2.      Examining Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Disease Landscape.
3.      Evaluating the efficacy results of Venetoclax in CLL patients.
4.      Understanding the adverse reactions and important safety considerations of Venetoclax.
Please register at Thank you.
Mark your calendars for November 14, 2019, to attend the "MOASC Educational Series Program." This year's program will highlight administrator issues as: Protecting Data in the Healthcare Industry; Secrets of successful provider contracting; Creating a custom website to drive patient growth and make your practice stand out. The current billing & collection issues and strategies to be addressed: Billing & Coding Updates for 2020; MACRA Quality Measures Guide; MIPS; G-Codes; Claims Review; Reporting and Returning Overpayments; Medicare Fraud and Abuse Penalties; Claim Denials - Understand why the claim was denied; Medicare Appeals Processes.
Mark your calendars NOW for the 7th Annual MOASC Oncology Summit, March 14, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach. From 2014 through 2019, the MOASC Oncology Summit has highlighted cutting-edge topics presented by world-renowned physicians. From topics like: Decoding Molecular Medicine's "nibs" and "mabs" to Personalizing Cancer Care in the Era of Multiple Therapies and Diagnostic Tools to Harnessing the Power of Immunotherapy, and this year's Advancing Cancer Care in the Elderly; unlike any other, MOASC has brought to southern California physicians the most contemporary topics for presentation and discussion among colleagues. You will not want to miss our 2020 program!
- MOASC's "Spotlight On Oncology,"  was held on Saturday, August 17, 2019, at the Waterfront Beach Resort in Huntington Beach.  Topics presented were Genitourinary Cancer Updates; Breast Cancer Updates; GI Cancer Updates: Colorectal Cancer, Hepatobiliary/Pancreas Cancers; GI Cancer Updates: Gastroesophageal Cancers; Lung Cancer Updates; Melanoma Updates. To watch the interviews of the speakers discussing their presentations, go to Thank you to AbbVie, Alexion, Amgen, Bayer, Biocept, Bristol Myers Squibb, Doximity, Dova Pharmaceuticals, Exelixis, Foundation Medicine, Genentech, Johnson and Johnson, Lilly Oncology, McKesson, Merck, Pfizer, Pharmacyclics, Takeda, Teva and Verastem for their generous support of this meeting.

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ANCO News  

- ANCO congratulates members Divya Ahuja Parikh, MD, Stanford University, and Ana I. Velazquez Manana, MD, MS, UC San Francisco, for receiving ASCO 2019 Quality Cancer Care Symposium Merit Awards.
- ANCO's Annual Professional Education Meeting 2019 is taking place at The Claremont Resort in Berkeley on October 17. Register at .

- The  ANCO-UCSF Precision Oncology Symposium is taking place at the Marine's Memorial Club in San Francisco on Saturday, November 9. Download the meeting announcement at
- ANCO members will receive a complimentary registration when they register as an "Early Bird ANCO Member" for the Best of WCLC 2019-San Francisco. Learn more at ; register at .
- ANCO annually funds one  Young Investigator Award  (YIA) for a qualified Northern California early-career cancer researcher through Conquer CancerĀ®, the ASCO Foundation. We encourage all eligible Northern California Fellows and Trainees to apply. The YIA is a one-year, $50,000 grant that provides research funding to promising physicians to support their transition from final years of subspecialty training to faculty appointment and to encourage and promote quality research in clinical oncology. In addition, ANCO funds two  Merit Awards  for the 2020 ASCO Annual Meeting and an award to attend the 6thAnnual Scientific and Career Development Retreat in October 2020, which is by invitation only. Learn more at . For questions about eligibility and the application, please contact Conquer Cancer at .
- ANCO physician members, their practice staff, and representatives from ANCO's corporate members must register to access password protected content on the ANCO website ( ) at .
- Follow ANCO on Twitter at  @ANCO News .

National News

In 2006, the Institute of Medicine determined that most cancer survivors in this country were not getting the support they needed. The agency recommended that all U.S. hospitals give cancer patients who have completed their initial treatments a plan for survival. ...What has happened in the 13 years since the Institute's recommendation? The vast majority of cancer survivors are still adrift.
A federal judge reviewing a Justice Department decision to allow U.S. pharmacy chain and benefits manager CVS Health Corp to merge with health insurer Aetna said on Wednesday that the agreement was in fact legal under antitrust law. Judge Richard Leon of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia had been examining a government plan announced in October to allow the merger on condition that Aetna sell its Medicare prescription drug plan business to WellCare Health Plans Inc. Both deals have already closed.
Insurers are scrambling to blunt the expense of new drugs that can carry prices of more than $2 million per treatment, offering new setups aimed at making the cost of gene therapies more manageable for employers. Cigna Corp. announced Thursday a new program that allows employers and insurers to pay per-month fees for a service that will cover the cost of gene therapies and manage their use. CVS Health Corp. says it plans to offer a new layer of coverage specifically for gene therapies, which would handle employers' costs above a certain threshold.

CMS News 
CMS is now accepting hardship exceptions from the Medicare Quality Payment Program (QPP) for the 2019 reporting year. Learn more (from the California Medical Association) at
Earlier, CMS had published updated open payments data reported in 2018 and physicians have until December 31 to review and dispute the 2018 data reported in their name. Learn more and review your data at

Affiliate Association News

- If you don't want to lose patient assistance programs, send YOUR DATA BEFORE September 15th. Go to the link at the end of this article to fill out the survey to help COA collect this data from practices.  This is SERIOUS and URGENT. The Senate Finance Committee has actually passed a bill that would require drug manufacturers to include the value of "coupon" programs in their ASP calculations, which as of now, would include patient assistance programs (even possibly drug assistance).  There are 2 possible outcomes of this legislation.  One, ASP for most drugs drops and becomes under water to drug cost, no matter the size of the practice.  Two, which is most likely, drug manufacturers don't want their ASPs under water so they stop assistance programs. COA NEEDS DATA!!!  This time COA is trying to aggregate data on a more consistent basis to use in conjunction with a Hill day on 9/18 focused on this issue. Please, please, please help COA help you - and your patients who depend on assistance - by taking the time to send your data in the format requested.  Practice data won't be divulged.  If we don't have the tools to stop this, please don't cry when patient assistance goes away. We don't want cancer patient assistance programs to be stopped.
Patient Assistance & Drug Survey FINAL

ASCO seeks comments on its draft guidelines  entitled  Practice Management of Male Breast Cancer  (by September 17);  Systemic Therapy for Melanoma  (by September 25); and,  Diagnosis and Management of Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Unknown Primary in the Head and Neck  (by September 27) at .
Register for ASCO's Advocacy Summit, September 25 & 26, 2019 in Washington, D.C. this two-day conference will feature guest speakers and network opportunities that will empower you to advocate for policies that support cancer research, your practice and highest quality patient care in meetings with your lawmakers.
- ANCO and MOASC encourage eligible members (physicians who have completed their subspecialty training between 2010 and 2015) to apply by September 25 for the ASCO Leadership Development Program at
The First Annual Leadership, Empowerment, and Development (LEAD) conference will take place on  October 4th and 5th at the Loews Hotel in Santa Monica, California.  This 2-day conference will focus on Enriching Experiences for Women in Hematology and Oncology through CME-certified clinical updates, career development workshops, professional networking opportunities, and one-on-one mentoring sessions. The target audience for this meeting is women in hematology/oncology careers seeking professional networking and science-based insights into the hematology/oncology landscape. Additional conference information, including the program agenda, can be found at  Of note, fellows can register for the conference free of charge by using the promo code FELLOWS100. If you have any questions, please contact: Patti Bunyasaranand, MS, Program Manager, Bio Ascend LLC, 404-310-1180 cell, 312-277-6893 fax

- MOASC Member, City of Hope CME presents: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Cancer Symposium on October 10-13, 2019 at the Waldorf Astoria, Las Vegas. This intensive program will provide participants with an enhanced ability to interpret and apply best treatment options into their individual cancer practices. For more information click  HERE. To register go to:

Each year, the Innovatix + Essensa National Meeting & Expo brings together members, contracted suppliers, and staff from Premier's Alternate Site Programs division for three highly anticipated days of learning, networking, and business development. This year's Meeting & Expo is October 28-30 in Atlanta. Our educational sessions feature nationally recognized policy leaders and influencers who share their knowledge about ways to help your business thrive. Please plan to register early to secure your spot as space is limited, and we anticipate it to fill quickly. As a MOASC purchasing member, you pay no registration fee for the conference or the sessions. REGISTER TODAY.
Download the mid-year update on the MyCOA Members Portal! This update is available exclusively to COA's members and subscribers through the MyCOA member portal:
Already a member? Just click here and log in to MyCOA.
Need to sign up? Click here to sign up on MyCOA for free!
- The Clinical Treatment Act (HR913) would require Medicaid to cover routine care costs for patients with life-threatening conditions on clinical trials. ASCO has posted a podcast on HR913 featuring Melissa Dillmon, MD, Chair of ASCO's Government Relations Committee at
- Start planning now for the meeting you cannot miss! The preliminary program for the 61st ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition, December 7-10, 2019, in Orlando, is now available online. Take a look to start planning your meeting now and ensure you have access to the most up-to-date information on this year's exciting sessions, speakers, and events.
NCCN has published updated guidelines for: myelodysplastic syndromes (August 30) and non-small cell lung cancer (August 3). For more NCCN information go to: .

In This Issue


Educational Series 
November 14, 2019

Oncology Summit 
March 14, 2020


(NCCN, San Francisco, September 27-28) 

8th International Cancer Metastatis Congress
(San Francisco, October 25-27) 
Supportive Care in Oncology
(ASCO, San Francisco, October 25-26) 

Kaiser Permanente National Oncology Symposium (Los Angeles, November 8-9)
  ANCO-UCSF Precision Oncology Symposium (San Francisco, November 9)

Best of WCLC San Francisco
Early Bird ANCO member registration available; November 23) 

ASCO's Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium
(San Francisco, January 23-25, 2020) 

ASCO's Genitourinary Cancers Symposium
(San Francisco, February 13-15, 2020) 

Stanford's Review of the 61st Annual ASH Annual Meeting (Half Moon Bay, February 15, 2020)

The  Medical Oncology Association of Southern California (MOASC) is a leading oncology society that advances and protects the ability of cancer patients to obtain, and the ability of the oncology physicians to provide, optimal cancer care. The  Association of Northern California Oncologists (ANCO) is an association of hematologists/oncologists dedicated to promoting high professional standards of cancer care by providing a forum for the exchange of ideas, data, and knowledge. The material contained in the California Oncology Weekly is intended as general information for ANCO and MOASC members. Because diagnostic, treatment, contracting, coding, and billing decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis, any such information contained in the California Oncology Weekly may not apply in any given situation. Members are encouraged to contact their own consultants or advisors to obtain specific advice on matters relating to contracting, coding, and billing. The information contained in California Oncology Weekly should not be used as a substitute for such advice. This publication provides a summary of regulations affecting oncology and its business practices. Reading this newsletter does not substitute for understanding regulations and verifying the validity of every claim. This information is time-sensitive and is subject to change. MOASC or ANCO accepts no liability for any statements or articles herein. CPT codes are owned and trademarked by the American Medical Association.  All Rights Reserved.



MOASC: P.O. Box 161, Upland, CA 91785 | P (909) 985-9061 | F (909) 804-5006|

ANCO: P.O. Box 151109, San Rafael, CA 94915 |  P (415) 472-3960 | F (415) 472-3961 |