California   Oncology   Weekly
"Where California Oncologists Go For Answers!"
A publication of the
Medical Oncology Association of Southern California, Inc.
May 19, 2020
This  Weekly 's Hot Topics

  • Gov. Newsom releases his revised 2020-21 state budget. California News
  • Paycheck Protection Program loans, new information. National News
  • CMS updates policies to telehealth COVID-19 reimbursement policy. CMS News

California News

- On May 14, Gov. Gavin Newsom released his revised 2020-21 state budget (PDF), which is a response to the harsh realities of COVID-19's economic impact. However, the California Medical Association opposes the health care cuts. Governor Newsom proposed taking virtually all of the Proposition 56 Tobacco Tax Revenue to help close the state's budget deficit. CMA is asking physicians to contact their local legislators today as they debate the Governor's proposed "solutions" to balance the health care budget. It is critically important the legislature understand the need to protect access to care for Medi-Cal enrollees and REJECT the Governor's repurposing of Prop 56 tobacco tax revenue.  See the full breakdown of how Gov. Newsom's budget impacts health care and what CMA is doing to oppose the health care cuts.
- Seventeen California counties have been given the "O.K." by Gov. Newsome to reopen. The counties largely encompass rural areas in Northern California and the Sierra, with the exception of San Benito County south of the Bay Area. All met state-set benchmarks in containing the coronavirus pandemic to qualify for early reopening. Gov. Gavin Newsom said last week that some counties would be allowed to reopen sit-down restaurants and permit some in-store shopping if they implemented new social distancing procedures. Schools can also reopen. The counties that received the go-ahead are San Benito, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lassen, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Tehama, Tuolumne, Yuba and Sutter.
- For participants in the Medi-Cal Promoting Interoperability Program, also known as Meaningful Use, the 2020 attestation window is OPEN .  You might have already met Stage 3 of Meaningful Use this year.  CMS allows 90-day MU and CQM reporting for this program year.  Because of that, you may be able to submit your attestation sooner rather than later and receive the incentive payment of $8,500 per Eligible Professional.  More than five EPs in CA already have 2020 MU applications approved for payment!  Contact CalHIPSO for free support under the California Technical Assistance Program for an assessment on your eligibility.  

Noridian News 

Recent Announcements Published to "Latest Updates" of Medicare Jurisdiction E Part B.
Upcoming Education:  Please see Noridian's schedule of events webpage for upcoming trainings on Telehealth and COVID-19.  JEA JEB JAF , and  JFB
-  Noridian will be hosting a Medicare Part A/B Open Meeting 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. Pacific, Wednesday, May 20, 2020. Registration is required.  Read the complete update
Claim Submission: Paper and Electronic Webinar - June 2, 2020 . This event includes: Overview of Electronic Billing, CMS 1500 Form Items, Electronic Equivalents for CMS-1500 Form, Top EDI Errors, and Resources  Read the complete update
-  Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) Webinar - June 17, 2020. This event includes: Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Basics, Locating fee schedules, Indicator list and descriptors, Resources, Questions and Answers  Read the complete update
-   A revised MLN Matters Article MM11661 on Quarterly Update to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Database (MPFSDB) - April 2020 Update (PDF) is available.
Learn about revised relative value units for codes 99441, 99442, and 99443 and additional information for codes G2025 and G0071. Click Here to download your copy.
Billing and coding for MolDX: Testing of multiple genes.  Read the complete update
-  Telehealth Video: Medicare Coverage and Payment of Virtual Services. This updated  video  provides answers to common questions about the expanded Medicare telehealth services benefit under the 1135 waiver authority and Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act.

MOASC News  

In honor of those who have served, and are serving, to defend and protect our democracy, the MOASC Office will be closed on Monday, May 25th.
- Thank you to all who responded to our request for information regarding your experiences with payers regarding: 1) Biosimilars and 2) ERISA plans.

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-  The Association of Northern California Oncologists (ANCO) is conducting a survey for Hematologists and Oncologists to learn how COVID-19 is impacting their practice. Please take a moment to complete our brief survey:
-  The Association of Northern California Oncologists (ANCO) continues to monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and is committed to providing the membership the best possible information with which to make clinical and personal well-being decisions.
We encourage member practices to let ANCO know of COVID-19 resources they are depending upon and found useful and how they are responding to COVID-19 and serving their patients and staff at (Use Subject: COVID-19: RESPONSE). Thanks!
-  Applications period has been extended for ANCO's Travel Awards to Fellows and Young Clinicians to support attendance at the ASCO Annual Meeting, ASH Annual Meeting, or other national oncology meeting in 2020 or 2021. Awards will be announced 30 days after the deadline; funds will be disbursed during the year in which the national meeting to be attended takes place. Learn more at .
-  ANCO physician members, their practice staff, and representatives from ANCO's corporate members must register to access password-protected content (e.g., The ANCO Directory, ANCO meeting materials) on the ANCO website .
-  Use ANCO's  job board   to post or search for employment opportunities at ANCO member practices.
-  Follow ANCO on Twitter at @ANCO News.

National News

- Physician practices were debating whether to return Paycheck Protection Program loans before the May 14th deadline. The PPP loans were designed to support small businesses during the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. Like many small businesses, physician practices have experienced significant financial hardships as a result of the pandemic. Patient volumes at practices dropped by an average of 60 percent since the country declared COVID-19 a public health emergency, and approximately 21 percent of physicians have been furloughed or taken a pay cut as a result of the pandemic, recent surveys showed. Healthcare's revenue cycle is creating uncertainty for practices, due to the lag time between when physicians provide services and when they actually get paid.
The SBA has said in official FAQs that PPP loan borrowers must "certify in good faith" that their request is necessary to support the business' ongoing operations. Providers expect their May and June financial statements to reflect the loss of revenue from COVID-19, including significant losses from high-margin elective and non-emergent services that were canceled to protect staff and patients from exposure. It was not until May 13th that the SBA released FAQ 46, indicating how it would review "good-faith" certifications. The FAQ explains that any borrower that received a loan of less than $2 million will be deemed a having made the required "good-faith" certification concerning the necessity of the loan. All other borrowers, of more than $2 million, however, will face a review by the SBA. Documentation of how PPP loans and other government COVID-19 funds are spent will still be critical, though. Physicians will need to document that they, in fact, are spending the PPP funds on covering payroll expenses to mitigate against the to lay off employees, to take advantage of loan forgiveness. Visit resource page compiled twice daily by Xtelligent Healthcare Media, for more corona virus updates. The California MGMA is presenting a webinar titled: Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans - What you need to know! On May 21 at 9:00am PDT.  

CMS News

- The   Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) updated multiple policies to incorporate additional flexibilities and clarifications to Medicare's telehealth COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) reimbursement policy.  The major telehealth changes in Medicare included allowing all health care professionals eligible to bill Medicare to be reimbursed for telehealth-delivered services which opened up reimbursement for physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech language pathologists.  CMS also increased the payment for telephone-only visits and is allowing specific evaluation and management services and behavioral health counseling and education services to also qualify for audio-only delivery.  Additionally, CMS made modifications to their guidance for federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics (FQHCs/RHCs) addressing changes to telehealth billing requirements and providing for additional flexibilities for audio-only telephone. 
- CMS has approved over 190 requests for state relief in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including recent approvals for California , Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, and Rhode Island. These approvals help to ensure that states have the tools they need to combat COVID-19. This is done through a wide variety of waivers, amendments, and Medicaid state plan flexibilities, including support for programs that care for the elderly and people with disabilities.
- CMS hosts varied recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information related to the agency's response to COVID-19. These sessions are open to members of the healthcare community and are intended to provide updates, share best practices among peers, and offer attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.
CMS COVID-19 call details are:
Office Hours Calls:
Lessons from the Front Lines:
Care Site-Specific Calls, Nurses:
As conference lines are limited, you are highly encouraged to join via audio webcast, either on your computer or smartphone web browser. Calls recordings and transcripts are posted on the CMS podcast page at:

Affiliate Association News

- At a pre-meeting press conference, ASCO gave reporters a peek at some of the important presentations at the upcoming ASCO20 Virtual Scientific Program on May 29 through May 31. The topics covered include smoking and lung cancer, maintenance therapy for ovarian cancer, the value of geriatric assessment, changes wrought by the Affordable Care Act, and videoconferencing for caregivers.

ASH is accepting nominations through May 31 for the 2020 ASH Advocacy Leadership Institute taking place September 22-23, in Washington, DC. This two-day workshop provides an opportunity for ASH members (who are U.S. citizens) with an interest in health policy and advocacy and a desire to become involved in ASH advocacy activities, to gain a better understanding of the Society and learn about legislation and health policy affecting hematology research and practice. Self-nominations are welcome, and individuals may nominate more than one colleague. For more information and to submit a nomination, visit the  ASH website .

National Cancer Survivors Day® is Sunday, June 7, 2020. Get a jumpstart on planning your NCSD 2020 event by registering it (free of charge) with the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation at  Visit their website at . To assist you, NCSD national supporter Coping with Cancer® magazine has put together a list of resources specifically for cancer survivors and caregivers. Follow this link to learn about  Coronavirus and Cancer: A list of resources for cancer survivors.
- Register for the June 9 web conference on, "How telehealth can increase access to care and improve healthcare quality." From 11am-12:30pm Pacific, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) presenters will discuss the impact of telemedicine on chronic disease management and the factors that help or hinder the use of telemedicine in urban areas. The Web conference also will cover the evidence about how telehealth can be used routinely and during public health emergencies such as a pandemic.  Learn more and register .
The International Lung Cancer Congress will held their 21st Annual meeting on July 23-25, 2020 at the Hyatt in Huntington Beach, and is exclusively extending FREE registrations to MOASC members. This meeting will provide current, practical information on the management of lung cancer, as well as a look at the novel agents and strategies with the potential to shape the future of lung cancer therapy. Leading international and national experts will provide perspectives on how to apply the latest data on targeted agents, immunotherapy, surgery, and radiation oncology in the clinic. To register and to view the invitation click  HERE .
Join the American Society of Hematology to their 2020 ASH Meeting on Hematologic Malignancies on September 11-12, 2020, at the Hilton Chicago to gain knowledge that can help you make an immediate impact in your practice. The meeting will feature top experts in the field, comprehensive clinical content, the latest clinical research, and opportunities to interact with colleagues in an intimate, small-group setting with no competing sessions. The program content will be structured as "How I Treat" presentations, which will showcase each speaker's evidence-based treatment approaches, present cutting-edge scientific data that can be translated into new strategies for diagnosis and treatment, and address what to do in cases where there is no data. For more details or to register, please visit the  ASH Website .
-  Cedars-Sinai 3rd Annual Gastrointestinal Tumor Conference is on Saturday, September 12, 2020. Concise and comprehensive updates on the most recent research and advances in immunotherapy for gastrointestinal cancers, will be presented. A stellar faculty has been assembled to share developments in precision medicine, research, and immunotherapeutic approaches to the treatment of cancers of the pancreas, liver, and gastric/esophagus. For more information and to register go to: .

Industry News
- Bristol Myers Squibb  announced that Opdivo (nivolumab) 3 mg/kg plus Yervoy (ipilimumab) 1 mg/kg (injections for intravenous use) was approved by the FDA for the first-line treatment of adult patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors express PD-L1 (≥1%) as determined by an FDA-approved test, with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations.For more information  click here
Celgene Corporation announces the FDA expanded the indication of pomalidomide ( POMALYST) to include treating adult patients with AIDS-related Kaposi sarc oma after failure of highly active antiretroviral therapy and Kaposi sarcoma in adult patients who are HIV-negative  More Information
-   Eli Lilly and Company announces the FDA approval of selpercatinib  (RETEVMO) for the following indications: Adult patients with metastatic RET fusion-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC); Adult and pediatric patients ≥12 years of age with advanced or metastatic RET-mutant medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) who require systemic therapy; Adult and pediatric patients ≥12 years of age with advanced or metastatic RET fusion-positive thyroid cancer who require systemic therapy and who are radioactive iodine-refractory (if radioactive iodine is appropriate).  More Information  
- Genentech, announced that the FDA has approved Tecentriq ® (atezolizumab) as a first-line (initial) treatment for adults with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors have high PD-L1 expression (PD-L1 stained ≥ 50% of tumor cells [TC ≥ 50%] or PD-L1 stained tumor-infiltrating [IC] covering ≥ 10% of the tumor area [IC ≥ 10%]), as determined by an FDA-approved test, with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations. For more information  click here.
- PLEASE SHARE WITH YOUR PATIENTS, the Voices of MPN's, webinar presentation for patients with a myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN), their family and care givers, who may have a lot of questions. To accommodate your patients, several webinars have been scheduled to hear, learn and get support, on June 3, 10, 11, 25 and 30. To register go to . These webinars are provided by Incyte Corporation.
- Merck is committed to ensuring that their medicines and vaccines reach our patients and customers. This includes supporting patients who might need more help today with their medications, including those who are unemployed or have lost insurance coverage due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn about what support options may be available, go to  Access and Patient Assistance information page . For more details about Merck's response to coronavirus, visit   COVID-19 information page .

In This Issue




21st Annual International Lung Cancer Congress
(Huntington Beach, July 23-25) 

(Davis, New Dates: 
March 11-12, 2021) 

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 material contained in the California Oncology Weekly is intended as general information for 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 accepts no liability for any statements or articles herein.  CPT codes are owned and trademarked by the American Medical Association.  All Rights Reserved.



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