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.
April 18, 2017
This Weekly's Hot Topics

  • Assembly Health Committee hearing on AB265 TODAY @ 1:30 (California News)
  • 2016 individual income tax returns to be filed TODAY. (National News)
  • COA launching "I Am Community Oncology" across the nation. (Affiliate News)

California News 
- AB 265 will be heard by the Assembly Health Committee TODAY, Tuesday, April 18th at 1:30 p.m. PDT.  Thank you for signing on to the group opposition letter to AB 265 (Wood). As you know, this legislation would ban co-payment assistance programs which are vital for helping patients pay for medications.  Attached is a copy of the updated group letter.  We want to ensure Assembly member Jim Wood and the members of the Assembly Health Committee have an accurate understanding of how detrimental this bill will be to the patient community.
CALL each committee member and ask for their NO vote on AB 265 (Wood).  Ensure they know you are opposed to the measure.
EMAIL each committee member asking for their NO vote on AB 265. 
TWEET each committee member asking for a NO vote on AB 265.  Committee twitter handles below.  Use hashtags #NoOnAB265 and #StopAB265.
TESTIFY before the committee tomorrow - are you or someone from your organization planning on attending the hearing to register your opposition to AB265?
Please direct your concern through calls, emails, tweets ASAP.
Jim Wood (Chair) (916) 319-200 
John Gilman, Analyst    ( 916) 319-2097
Brian Maienschein (Vice Chair) (916) 319-2077   
Rob Bonta (916) 319-2018 
Autumn R. Burke (916) 319-2062   
James Gallagher (916) 319-2003  
Monique Limon (916) 319-2037   
Kevin McCarty (916) 319-2007   
Adrin Nazarian (916) 319 2046 
Jim Patterson (916) 319-2023
Sharon Quirk-Silva  (916) 319-2054  
Sebastian Ridley-Thomas   (916) 319-2054  
. @sridleythomas
Freddie Rodriguez  (916) 319-2052
Miguel Santiago  (916) 319-2053 
Tony Thurmond  (916) 319-2015 
Marie Waldron  (916) 319-2075
 Sample Tweets opposing the bill:
@LEGISLATORHANDLE Stop the ban of RX copay assistance programs for patients. #NoOnAB265
@LEGISLATORHANDLE Patients rely on RX copay assist programs to help pay high OOP costs for meds. #StopAB265
@LEGISLATORHANDLE Why WOOD someone ban RX assistance programs to help patients #Access needed meds? #NoOnAB265
AB265 Oppose-April 2017

- THIS WEEK, April 16-22, is National Health Care Decisions week. The CMA encourages physicians to speak with their patients about the importance of completing an advance directive to make sure their end-of-life wishes are known. Experts say only about 20-30 percent of Americans have completed an advance directive, even though all people age 18 and older should have one. In California, advance directives are the legally recognized format for "living wills." CMA has developed a number of guidelines, forms and other resources to assist providers, patients and loved ones with making important end-of-life decisions. The information, available in English and Spanish, includes legally recognized documents such as Advance Directives, Do-Not-Resuscitate forms and Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST). CMA's Advance Health Care Directive and POLST kits also include wallet identification cards and answer frequently asked questions from patients. You can find a complete list of CMA's end-of-life health care resources with summaries at
This Thursday, April 20th, ATTENTION Physicians in the San Gabriel Valley! The Californians Allied for Patient Protection (CAPP) The Coalition to Protect MICRA, invites you to please join them for an evening reception in honor of Assembly Member Blanca Rubio from 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. The reception will be held at Garden View Post-Acute Rehab (14475 Garden View Ln., Baldwin Park, CA). Please click here to view the invitation. Please share this invitation with patients, colleagues and staff and encourage them to attend. Please RSVP to Tina de Vere White ( you for your continued support of CAPP.
The Cancer Legal Resource Center announces its 2017 Webinar Series covering many common cancer-related legal issues. This webinar series is open to cancer patients and their families, survivors, caregivers, health care professionals and others coping with cancer. 
The first in the series, How Can I Make Sure My Wishes Are Upheld? will take place on Wednesday April 26 at 12 pm PST, and will provide an overview of advanced health care directives, powers of attorney for financial affairs, conservatorships, and wills and trusts.
Participate by phone or online. Register today. For more information about the CLRC and other webinars in the series, go to their website:
- Drug makers are watching Senate Bill 17 which would require drug companies to announce large price hikes and give detailed justifications to explain why the prices are going up. Instead of direct price controls, SB17 takes a different tack: price transparency. Last November, California voters defeated a ballot proposal that would have given state government more control over drug prices. It was a victory for pharmaceutical companies, who spent more than $100 million campaigning against the measure. Now the industry is fighting new efforts by state lawmakers to control the industry. KQED: California Presses Forward In Fight To Regulate Pharma.

Noridian News 

Noridian/JEMAC has posted the following updates to its website
* MLN Connects Provider News
Announcements --
Claims, Pricers, and Codes --April 2017 OPPS Pricer File
Events --Open Payments: Prepare to Review Reported Data Call-April 23; Hospice Quality Reporting Program: Public Reporting Webinar-April 27 
Publications --Quality Payment Program in 2017: Pick Your Pace Web-Based Training Course-New
* Open Public Meeting Announcement-June 1, 2017
* Contractor Status Codes (C-Status) Updates
Forthcoming Noridian/JEMAC webinars 
* Preventive Services (April 26)
* Noridian Medicare Portal Registration and Functionality (May 2)
* Modifier 59 (May 4, May 10)
* Noridian Medicare Portal Registration and Functionality (May 17)
Bladder/Urothelial Tumor Markers Final LCD - Effective May 16, 2017
The following Local Coverage Determination (LCD) has completed the Open Public and Contractor Advisory Committee (CAC) comment period and is now finalized. Read the complete update.

  MOASC News

- Don't miss MOASC's LunchTime Series presentation of MACRA-The Quality Payment Program - Implications of the CY2017 Final Rule, Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 12:30pmPST.  Presented by, Jennifer Cunningham, Director, Healthcare Policy and Advocacy, Southern CA  Strategic Customer Group,Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems Inc.AND Leslie Fox  Director, Healthcare Policy and Advocacy, Washington, Oregon & Alaska, Strategic Customer Group, Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems Inc. Please contact the MOASC Office for registration information. Thank you!

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ANCO is organizing a series of Hematologic Malignancies Updates in 2017. The first Update will take place on May 6 at the Sacramento Hyatt Regency on May 6 with Mehrdad Abedi, M.D., University of California, Davis, Sandy Wong, M.D., University of California, San Francisco, and Julian Davis, M.D., University of California, Davis. The latest research on novel treatment modalities for hematologic malignancies, myeloma, and amyloidosis, along with case studies for these diagnoses, will be presented. These updates are supported by Janssen Biotech, Merck, Pfizer Oncology, and Pharmacyclics. Download the meeting announcement at .

ANCO's ASCO Highlights 2017 will not take place in 2017 in lieu of our encouragement of members to attend ASCO's Best of ASCO in San Francisco ( ; June 16-17). However, ANCO will host an event on June 15 entitled The State of Cancer Care with Wes Kidder, M.D., and Margaret Tempero, M.D., University of California, San Francisco, at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis. Watch for a meeting announcement in April.

National  News
- The Internal Revenue Service has received 103.6 million 2016 individual income tax returns as of April 7 and expects millions more to be filed by TODAY, the April 18 deadline.
The American Medical Association (AMA) will host a free 90-minute webinar on MACRA and QPP on April 20th. To register please go to:
- As part of their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, Republicans are targeting 'frivolous' malpractice lawsuits as a way to reduce health spending. Democrats, however, say limiting patients' ability to litigate removes rights from those harmed by horrific medical mistakes. Democrats also argue that low-income people and older Americans would find it more difficult to win lawsuits for injuries caused by medical malpractice or defective drugs or medical devices under this bill drafted by House Republicans.
- The Food and Drug Administration, last week, approved the direct-to-consumer genetic testing firm 23andMe, to sell reports that show customers whether they have an increased genetic risk of developing certain diseases and conditions. The go-ahead is the first time the federal agency has approved such direct-to-consumer genetic tests and comes about three years after the FDA warned Mountain View, Calif.-based 23andMe to stop marketing its health reports because they lacked agency authorization. 

Patrick Soon-Shiong, the California health care billionaire, believes the United States is fighting a flawed war on cancer, "stuck in dogma." His bracing critique caught the attention of Joe Biden and, more recently, Donald Trump, who met privately with Soon-Shiong twice during the transition, as he reportedly angled for a role in the administration.
Politico: How Washington's Favorite Cancer Fighter Helps Himself

In his confirmation hearings, Supreme Court Justice, Neil Gorsuch, had frustrated legislators on both sides of the aisle with his refusal to talk specifics on several major issues he could rule on. But one matter on which his past writings offer a detailed picture of his views is medical aid in dying, sometimes referred to as physician-assisted suicide. In 2006, Gorsuch wrote "The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia," in which he "builds a nuanced, novel, and powerful moral and legal argument against legalization."  Gorsuch also addressed questions on the polarizing issue during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings. The number of patients using the nation's first physician-aided suicide program, Oregon's Death with Dignity Act, has continued to grow since voters first approved the law nearly two decades ago. A new study shows a 12 percent yearly increase in lethal prescriptions from 1998 to 2013, with an unexplained jump of nearly 30 percent in 2015. The research doesn't include 2016 numbers, which haven't been released yet.
The Anthem Network Update (April 2017) is now available online at and features articles entitled Clinically equivalent agents; Medical policy update; Clinical guideline informational notices; Anthem Blue Cross will be expanding the Specialty Pharmacy prior authorization.

CMS News

CMS is accepting comments on the Request for Information through next Monday, April 24, 2017. CMS is releasing a Request for Information to welcome continued feedback on Medicare Advantage and Part D. CMS is soliciting ideas for regulatory, sub-regulatory, policy, practice and procedural changes to better accomplish transparency, flexibility, program simplification and innovation in Medicare Advantage and Part D The 2018 Rate Announcement and Call Letter, and the Request for Information may viewed through: and select "2018Announcement."
Groups participating in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) track of the Quality Payment Program are not required to register, except for groups that intend to utilize the CMS Web Interface and/or administer the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) for MIPS survey. To register, please visit the Quality Payment Program website. The registration period is from April 1, 2017 through June 30, 2017. The registration period is from April 1, 2017 through June 30, 2017.
With the deadline of July 1, CMS has announced that it is now accepting hardship exceptions from the meaningful use requirements of the EHR incentive payment program for the 2016 reporting year. Physicians who can show that demonstrating meaningful use would result in a significant hardship can apply for a one-year exception and avoid a negative payment adjustment in 2018. For more information and applications, go to

The CMS is proposing a $3 billion raise to inpatient hospitals in fiscal year 2018. The agency also plans to change the way it reimburses uncompensated care, a move that's been panned by the hospital industry.
On April 14, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule to update 2018 Medicare payment and policies when patients are admitted into hospitals. The agency also released a Request for Information (RFI) to solicit ideas for regulatory, policy, practice and procedural changes to better achieve transparency, flexibility, program simplification and innovation. This RFI is meant to inform the discussion on future regulatory action related to inpatient and long-term hospitals.  CMS will accept comments on the proposed rule and the RFI until Tuesday, June 13, 2017.
CMS has posted new resources to the QPP website to help clinicians successfully participate in the first year of the QPP. The new resources focus on support for small practices and alternative payment models (APMs). Visit for more information.
Subscribers of the PQRS listserv are encouraged to sign up for the new CMS Quality Payment Program listserv. The Quality Payment Program is part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) and includes two tracks - Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs) and the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).
MIPS will replace three Medicare reporting programs: EHR Incentive Program (Meaningful Use); Physician Quality Reporting System and the Value-Based Payment Modifier.
The Quality Payment Program listserv will provide news and updates on: New resources and website updates; Upcoming milestones and deadlines; CMS trainings and webinars. The Quality Payment Program period opened on January 1, 2017 and closes December 31, 2017. Participation in MIPS can start as early as January 1, 2017 or as late as October 2, 2017. The first payment adjustments based on performance go into effect on January 1, 2019. To subscribe, visit the Quality Payment Program  portal  and select "Subscribe to Email Updates" in the footer. The  Education & Tools  page includes program resources to help you learn more about eligibility and how to participate.

Affiliate Association News 
COA is ready to launch the "I Am Community Oncology" campaign across the nation. And they need your participation to make a real splash! COA wants to raise awareness of the important work taking place in community oncology practices across the country and the challenges you face; highlight the nurturing, personalized focus that sets community practices apart; and provide useful educational information to patients and caregivers. COA knows that many practices do this on a local market level, COA wants to multiply that work and take this national. The campaign is completely centered on the community oncology practices providing outstanding cancer care. Free resources are available to help tell your stories and engage with patients like never before. It is a big undertaking for COA, on behalf of practices nationwide, and we hope you will join to learn more about it.  COA will be holding a very short 30-minute webinar on their plans. You will learn more about the campaign and resources being made available to practices. The 30-minute webinar will be offered:  Wednesday, April 19 @ 3:00 p.m. (Pacific) and Thursday, April 20 @ 5:00 p.m. (Pacific).   To join the webinar, simply visit will only be successful if you get involved. This is the push to promote community oncology like never before on a national basis!  If you are unable to attend any of the scheduled webinars or have any technical issues, contact the COA team at
Join the American Medical Association (AMA) on April 20 for a free webinar entitled MACRA/QPP: Medicare Access and CHIP Authorization Act/Quality Payment Program at 4PM PDT. Register for the webinar at:
IT'S NEXT WEEK, April 27-28! Don't miss The 2017 Community Oncology Conference. Join a record-breaking crowd of more than 1,200 for two packed days of learning and networking! Registration closes THIS FRIDAY, April 21st and hotel rooms are going fastThe 2017 Community Oncology Conference is planned specifically to meet the needs of community oncology providers, administrators, nurses, pharmacists and patients. The packed agenda covers the timeliest topics in today's community oncology landscape, including how to survive MIPS/MACRA, the Oncology Care Model (OCM), 340B, immuno-oncology, the Oncology Medical Home (OMH), physician recruitment, coding denials, and MUCH more. Connect, learn, and share at the 2017 Community Oncology Conference, Register today and join us!
2017 ASCO Annual Meetingis June 2-6 at McCormick Place, Chicago. The deadline to secure the lowest rates for the is April 26. Don't miss engaging education sessions, discussing practice-changing research, and connecting with global experts in oncology. Register by Wednesday, April 26 at 8:59 PM (PDT) and save up to $270 on registration fees, depending on your registration type. View all session details, including faculty, presentation titles, and times in the preliminary program. Register and reserve your hotel by April 26 for the best rates. Limited hotel rooms are available. Join ASCO today and save even more!
- ASCO strongly supports increasing access to investigational new  treatment options for patients with cancer, while raising serious concerns about recently proposed Federal "right to try" (RTT) legislation as well as enacted State (including California's) RTT laws. Read ASCO's full position statement on access to investigational drugs at

- ASCO has updated its cancer clinical practice guideline for the treatment of potentially curable pancreatic cancer, focusing specifically on the adjuvant treatment of R0 and R1 resected disease.
NCCN has published updates to the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®), the NCCN Drugs & Biologics Compendium (NCCN Compendium®), NCCN Chemotherapy Order Templates, NCCN Guidelines for Patients, and NCCN Imaging Appropriate Use Criteria (NCCN Imaging AUC™) for: adult cancer pain (V1.2017); anal cancer; antiemesis (V2.2017); B-cell lymphomas (V3.2017); breast cancer (V2.2017); cancer-related fatigue (V2.2017); chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma; colon cancer; distress (V1.2017); hairy cell leukemia; hepatobiliary cancer; metastatic breast cancer (Stage IV; V1.2017); neuroendocrine tumors (V2.2017); ovarian cancer (V1.2017); pancreatic carcinoma (V1.2017); primary cutaneous B-cell lymphomas; rectal cancer; smoking cessation (V1.2017); soft tissue sarcoma; survivorship (V1.2017); systemic light chain amyloidosis; testicular cancer; T-cell lymphomas; uterine neoplasms (endometrial carcinoma; V1.2017); Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia/lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma. For the complete updated versions of the NCCN Guidelines, NCCN Guidelines with NCCN Evidence Blocks™, the NCCN Compendium®, the NCCN Biomarkers Compendium®, the NCCN Templates®, and the NCCN Imaging Appropriate Use Criteria (NCCN Imaging AUC™), please visit .To view the NCCN Guidelines for Patients®, please visit Free NCCN Guidelines apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices are now available! Visit

Industry News 
AstraZeneca informs ANCO and MOASC that the United States Food and Drug Administration has approved Tagrisso for the treatment of patients with metastatic epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) T970M mutation-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), as detected by an FDA-approved test, whose disease has progressed on or after EFGR tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy.
Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems invites you to join their WebEx meeting on MACRA: The Quality Payment Program - Implications of the CY2017 Final Rule, Wednesday April 26th, 12:30pm Pacific time. Join WebEx meeting: Meeting number: 813 596 506. Meeting password: MACRA. OR, join by phone: 1-877-565-9999 and enter access code 144 272 48. If cannot join the meeting, please Contact support.

In This Issue

LunchTime Series
April 26, 2017

COA Annual Meeting 
  April 27-28, 2017

ASCO National Meeting in Chicago
June 2-6, 2017

(Sacramento, May 6) 
The State of Cancer Care (San Francisco, June 15)
12th Annual Congress: Hematologic Malignancies (NCCN, San Francisco, October 6-7)

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 |