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.
January 10, 2017

California News
- In speeches on the West Coast, Vice President Joe Biden says he will continue his campaign to find cures for cancer and extolled young researchers to find new remedies through their "overwhelming skepticism for orthodoxy."  I n a San Francisco speech, the vice president stated that he will be starting an organization that may be called the Biden Cancer Initiative to make progress in changing the way the nation conducts cancer research and development and providing care to those with the disease. MOASC Chair emeritus, Cary A. Presant, M.D. has been invited to the White House for a meeting, tomorrow, Wednesday, of community oncology regarding the vice president's "cancer moonshot,"followed by a meeting on Innovation and Access in Quality Cancer Care.
- The California Dialogue on Cancer is excited to announce the addition of the CDOC Stakeholder Spotlight program, to recognize those CDOC stakeholders who have gone above and beyond to make a difference in cancer control efforts. The CDOC Project Spotlight program promotes CDOC projects, interventions, and other cancer-related activities.  Please help  the CDOC stay connected and recognize the strides t hat are taking place in our state by allowing them to promote and showcase what CDOC stakeholders are accomplishing.   To submit a CDOC Project Spotlight , or nominate yourself or someone you know for a  CDOC Stakeholder Spotlight , please complete this brief questionnaire.  The form takes only a few minutes to complete.  It is available here: Additionally, if you have any content you would like included in the  Spring CDOC Newsletter , please email me Judy Polakoff by January 20th  with any stories, updates, announcements or other cancer-related content ideas.

Noridian News

- Noridian/JEMAC has posted the following updates to its website
* MLN Connects Provider News
Announcements --Apply for Clinical Practice Improvement Activities and Measurement Study by January 31; EHR Incentive Programs: new Attestation Resources; January Quarterly Provider Update Available
Claims, Pricers, and Codes -- 
Events --Hospice Quality Reporting Program Provider Training-January 18; Medicare Quality Programs: Transitioning from PQRS to MIPS Call-January 24
Publications--Quality Payment Program Video Presentation-New; Medicare Overpayments Fact Sheet-Revised 
* Flow Cytometry LCD-R6
* Medical Necessity of Therapy Services-R1
* Certification Statement Signature and Contact Person Requirements-Revised CR9776
* Therapy Evaluation and Assessment Services-R2
* MolDX: Comprehensive Genomic Profiling to Guide Treatment in Patients with Advanced Primary Peritoneal, Fallopian Tube and Ovarian Cancer Draft LCD Published for Review and Comments

DHCS/Medi-Cal News

- MOASC President Warren H. Fong, M.D. sits on the Medi-Cal ORP (Ordering, Referring, and Prescribing) Stakeholder Council and would like to share the recent December 22, 2016 meeting with you here: ACA_ORP

- SB 1004 requires DHCS to establish standards and provide technical assistance for Medi-Cal managed care plans for the delivery of palliative care services.  DHCS released an updated palliative care policy document and data analysis on September 1, 2016, in response to stakeholder feedback on the draft policy paper released in 2015.  The updated policy document and webinar materials are posted on the SB 1004 website .  DHCS is now developing specific instructions for Medi-Cal managed care health plans, and is sharing those draft instructions with stakeholders for comment prior to finalization.  Please visit the above website to view the policy paper, stakeholder feedback, and materials from the webinar.

  MOASC News

- MOASC physician members are invited to take advantage of an opportunity to conduct a research study in the community oncology setting and insure continued practice in the setting of their choice.  The goal of this project is to show the value of a physician dispensing practice within a community setting.  Specifically, a support care protocol utilizing an oncology population where point of care interaction is critical and can distinguish practices vs. competition. As you all know, head and neck cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy are a high need population. Almost all of these patients will experience some type of mucositis, pain control issues, and functional inability when it comes to nutritional support. Jeff Lombardo PharmD, BCOP,Research Assistant Professor, Associate Director - Empire State Patient Safety Assurance Network, UB Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences, Translational Pharmacology Research Core, UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, has written a protocol and tested it in a community oncology setting in New York.  His results were presented to Midatech, and they agreed to support a larger trial in a national community oncology setting. The intent is to conduct a multi-center, IRB approved, in multiple community oncology locations across the US with Midatech financial support. 
1.      Are you interested in volunteering as a Co-PIs on the study?
2.      Are you interested in forming a national advisory committee composing of pharmacists, nurses, dieticians, medical and radiation oncologists?
3.      Can you provide feedback on the proposed study design and outcome measures?
Once Jeff has gained interest from this email , his plan is to set up a biweekly or monthly call to move the agenda forward.   The final results of this work will be for publication and hopefully a podium presentation at a national conference.  From these results, a national focus group of community oncology practices will engage in further studies involving other disease states where community oncology practices can show their value in this disease focus area.   Please respond to the MOASC Office or 800-310-3553 x 1 to indicate your desire to participate. Thank you!
- Oncology Revolution:  Are your treatment choices still relevant in the era of Immuno-oncology and Molecularly-targeted therapies? Join us for the 2017 MOASC Oncology Summit of Nationally known and regionally based key-opinion leaders and assess your tools for thriving in an era of Personalized Medicine! We will discuss how to use the new tools of "Personalized Medicine" to guide treatment choices for Lung Cancer, Prostate Cancer and Multiple Myeloma. This will be a practically-oriented, clinically relevant discussion and you will leave with new insights into your own practice patterns and how to make sure you are embracing the future today!

For complete information on this superb program, please contact the MOASC Office at 909-985-9061 ext.1 or or .
- The 2nd Annual UC Irvine Health Hematology Symposium, presented by the Department of Pathology and the Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, will take place on Saturday, March 25, 2017, at Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel, Anaheim, CA.
Topics will include:
* Molecular diagnostics in selected disorders 
* Myelodysplastic syndrome
* Primer on flow cytometry for the general practitioner         
* Venous thromboembolism
* Approach to the evaluation of anemia 
* Selected vector-borne diseases
* Lupus anticoagulant and antiphospholipid antibody syndrome.  
For registration or more information please contact Dannielle Lampkin at or 714-456-8621 or visit the Hematology Symposium registration website, .

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- As a result of the ANCO Annual Election, t he membership has elected Drs. Tyler Paul Johnson, Michael Zachary Koontz, Ostap Melnyk, and Robert Robles to serve three-year terms on the Board through 2019. ANCO salutes retiring Board members Drs. Kristen Ganjoo, Pam Kunz, and Wei Wang for their service to the ANCO Board

- Read Bobbi Buell's summary and analysis of the CY2017 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, Outpatient Prospective Payment System, and coding updates for 2017 at
- ANCO's Medicare Reimbursement for Oncology 2017 with Bobbi Buell took place on January 4 in San Jose and January 5 in Sacramento. Download the presentation at
- ANCO's SABCS Highlights 2016 will take place on January 26 at The Claremont Resort in Oakland. Download the meeting announcement and registration form at
- ANCO is pleased to announce the 17th Multidisciplinary Management of Cancers: A Case-based Approach on March 17-19, 2017 at The Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa. Registration and housing now open at

National News
- Healthcare created more jobs than any other sector in 2016, helping to drive total annual job growth to 2.2 million , according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But that may be set to change. While job growth in the healthcare sector has helped reduce the unemployment rate, it also sped up healthcare spending.
Most of the growth in the healthcare sector occurred in ambulatory healthcare services, followed by hospitals. 

-  Health care facilities will no longer be allowed to use secure text messaging  to send patient care orders, according to the Joint Commission's updated guidelines, developed in collaboration with the CMS and published in the journal Perspectives. The Joint Commission and the CMS recommend the use of a computerized provider order entry system to submit orders and advise facilities to prohibit sharing protected health information through unsecured text messaging from personal mobile devices.

CMS News

- CMS has  issued a two-year pass to physicians and group practices because of a glitch with quality reporting measures based on a recent update to the ICD-10 diagnosis and procedure codes. It is being attributed
to the ICD-CM (Clinical Modification) and ICD-PCS (Procedural Coding System) updates  that went into use Oct. 1, 2016 and their impact on the Physician Quality Reporting System.  
The updates will impact CMS's ability to process data reported on certain quality measures for the 4th quarter of CY 2016.  CMS will not apply the 2017 or 2018 PQRS payment adjustments to any "eligible professional" or "group practice that fails to satisfactorily report for (calendar year) 2016 solely as a result of the impact of ICD-10 code updates on quality data reported for the 4th quarter of (CY) 2016.  Normally under the PQRS program, penalties are 2% of the Medicare fee schedule.   According to the American Health Information Management Association,  the majority of the codes are for oncology, diabetes, pregnancy, cardiovascular, mental health and eye diseases.
The ICD-10 code update timeline has not been specified, as of yet.

- CMS is now accepting applications for a new Clinical Practice Improvement Activities (CPIA) study, which will examine workflow and data collection methods so that CMS can better understand the challenges of collecting and reporting quality data. Clinicians and practices that participate in the CMS CPIA study will receive full credit for the CPIA performance category through the Quality Payment Program. Receiving full credit in the CPIA performance category will help boost participants' composite scores in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). Participants in the study will need to complete at least three survey questionnaires, participate in at least three focus groups, and submit at least three clinician quality performance measures to CMS by December 2017. Applications are being accepted through January 31 at

Affiliate Association News  
The Alliance for Patient Access, is a national network of physicians advocating for patient access to approved therapies and appropriate clinical care. AfPA's National Physicians Biologics Working Group is hosting its annual meeting in Phoenix, AZ on January 27th and 28th to discuss issues related to patient access to biologic therapies. If you are policy-minded and interested in advocacy, you are invited to attend the working group meeting. AfPA will cover expenses, including travel, hotel and meals, incurred by attending physicians.Interested physicians may register for the meeting here - or contact Alexa DeVantier with questions, requests for additional information, or to register for the meeting.
ASH's 2017 Highlights of ASH in North America will take place in Seattle on January 27-28. Go to for more information and to register.
ACCC's 43rd Annual Meeting, CANCERSCAPE, takes place in Washington, D.C., from March 29-31. Go to for more information and to register.

Applications are now being accepted for ASCO's Quality Training Program at This comprehensive 6-month program is oncology-focused and teaches clinicians how to improve quality using evidence-based decisions and how to reduce clinical and process variation for predictable and sustainable results. In 2017, there will be two regional locations, including Portland, OR (Session 1: April 20-21; Session 2: June 28-29; and Session 3: October 18).

ASCO has announced that it is extending the deadline for completing PQRS requirements through QOPI to January 31. QOPI is free to all users and the PQRS reporting is free to any practice with a  current ASCO member. Learn more at
Register for the inaugural ASCO Oncology Practice Conference, an educational meeting focused on the business of cancer care, being held March 2, 2017 in Orlando. Learn more and register at
Applications are now being accepted for ASCO's Quality Training Program at    This comprehensive 6-month program is oncology-focused and teaches clinicians how to improve quality using evidence-based decisions and how to reduce clinical and process variation for predictable and sustainable results. In 2017, there will be two regional locations, including Portland, OR (Session 1: April 20-21; Session 2: June 28-29; and Session 3: October 18).
Download all the oncology coding updates now from ACCC at 
- ASCO is pleased to remind members that you can use the QOPI platform to meet the MIPS reporting requirement of one measure through manual reporting. While one is the minimum requirement to avoid the 2019 penalty, ASCO encourages practices to report on at least four measures to become fully acquainted with the system and ensure that the CMS requirements are met. In addition, ASCO is using 2017 as a transition year to modify the QOPI Quality Clinical Data Registry (QCDR) to allow practices to meet 2018 MIPS reporting requirements. In the meantime, ASCO encourages all oncology practices to use 2017 to ensure they are positioned to report at the significantly higher volume (60% of their eligible charges for ALL measures) requirement in 2018.

 - ASCO has submitted comments to CMS regarding the Quality Payment Program (QPP), which, under MACRA, changes the way physicians are reimbursed for services provided under Medicare Part B. Read about ASCO's comments at ASH also submitted comments; read ASH's comments at
A collaboration between ASCO and the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) enables participants of ACSO's Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI) to receive Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Practice Assessment points from ABIM. For more information on ABIM MOC, eligibility, and requirements, please visit
 - View ACCC's webcast on the MIPS--The Final Rules Under MACRA
 at Download ASCO's presentation entitled MACRA Rules are Final: Time to Implement at
NCCN has published updated NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) with NCCN Evidence Blocks™ cervical cancer (V1.2017); colon cancer (V1.2017); and, rectal cancer (V2.2017). They have also published update to the NCCN Guidelines for Patients for: lung cancer screening (V1.2017); and, malignant pleural mesothelioma (V1.2016). For the complete updated versions of the NCCN Guidelines, NCCN Guidelines with NCCN Evidence Blocks™, the NCCN Compendium®, the NCCN Chemotherapy Order Templates (NCCN Templates®), and the NCCN Imaging Appropriate Use Criteria (NCCN Imaging AUC™), please visit
Industry News 
- Foundation Medicine has received FDA approval of FoundationFocus CDxBRCA as a companion diagnostic for Rubraca (Clovis Oncology) for the treatment of women with ovarian cancer.

- Merrimack Pharmaceuticals informs ANCO and MOASC that the United States Food and Drug Administration has issued J-code J9205 (1mg) to Onivyde effective January 1, 2017.

nanoString informs ANCO and MOASC that the BlueCross BlueShield Association (BCBSA) Evidence Street has published a new breast cancer genetic profile assessment that updates its assessment for Prosigna, as follows: The evidence is sufficient to determine that Prosigna results in a meaningful improvement in net health outcome for individuals with early-stage node-negative invasive breast cancer considering adjuvant chemotherapy who receive gene expression profiling testing with Prosigna. These findings are consistent with ASCO guidelines updated easier this year.

- Seattle Genetics is hosting an educational program entitled Lymphoma Clinical Update with Joseph Tuscano, M.D., UC Davis, at Mulvaney's B&L in Sacramento on January 11. RSVP with your local account manager or Krista Saumure at (916) 402-6846 or . In addition, Seattle Genetics is hosting an educational program entitled SOLAR (Science of Lymphoma and Associated Receptors) with Alejandro Gru, M.D., University of Virginia, on January 26, in San Francisco. RSVP to Christine Ott at (650) 314-8501 or

In This Issue



SABCS Highlights 2016  (January 26, The Claremont Resort, Oakland)
Best of 17th WCLC (International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, San Francisco, February 4)

9th Annual Palliative Care Summit
(Coalition for Compassionate Care of California, Sacramento, March 13-15, 2017) 

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 |