California Oncology Weekly

"Where California Oncologists Go For Answers!"

A publication of the
Medical Oncology Association of Southern California, Inc.
May 12, 2020
This  Weekly 's Hot Topics

  • Top Denial Code Inquiries and Solutions Webinar - May 13 Noridian News
  • Please take a few minutes to answer Payer survey due this FridayMOASC News
  • Deadline extended for physicians to attest for Provider Relief Funding National News
  • CMS issues final rule addressing lower premiums & value-based plan designs CMS News

California News

- Governor Gavin Newsom announced safeguards and protocols for retail stores and workplaces eligible to reopen in the weeks ahead. While noting that different counties would begin reopening at different paces, Newsom's announcement marks the beginning of California's gradual easing of the stay-at-home order and attempt to rekindle a state economy ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. While dozens of demonstrators in militia clothing descended last Saturday on the west side of the state Capitol, one of at least three groups protesting California Gov. Gavin Newsom's coronavirus stay-at-home order in downtown Sacramento. A group calling itself the 2nd Regiment of the California State Militia held a silent vigil on the sidewalk, where three other big demonstrations have been held in recent weeks. More than 75 California Highway Patrol officers stood guard behind steel barricades that were set up Thursday to keep a large group from entering the Capitol grounds.
- In order to get and keep California open, the state must be able to quickly identify new cases, break chains of transmission and protect first responders and healthcare workers from infection. The following pages serve as an easily accessible repository of guidelines, tools and resources from the CDC:
The CDC offers free resources including videos, handouts, flyers, factsheets and posters. Access current communication tools and resources available for use and distribution.

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. JEAJEBJAF, and JFB
-  Top Denial Code Inquiries and Solutions Webinar - May 13, 2020. This event includes: Duplicate Claim Denials, Medical Unlikely Edit Denials, Medicare Secondary Payor Denials, Overlapping Claim Denials, MBI Denials, Resources Read the complete update.
- Provider Enrollment COVID-19 Updates Webinar - May 14, 2020. H ow to enroll your providers during the pandemic. Read the complete update
- 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
- 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.
- ICD-10 and Other Coding Revisions to NCDs - October 2020 Update CR11749
CR 11749 informs providers about updated International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) conversions as well as coding updates specific to National Coverage Determinations (NCDs). Read the complete update

MOASC News  
PLEASE RESPOND BY THIS FRIDAY, MAY 15! It is MOASC's mission to remove barriers to access of appropriate treatment for oncology patients. The MOASC Office would like your feedback regarding:
1)      Payer mandated biosimilar use in your practice; and
2)      ERISA plan administration in your practice.
Click to Take the survey NOW.   Thank you for your time.

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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

-  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has extended the deadline for physicians to attest to receipt of payments from the Provider Relief Fund and accept the terms and conditions. Physicians will now have 45 days, increased from 30 days, from the date they receive a payment to attest and accept the terms and conditions, or return the funds. 
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also clarified the Provider Relief Fund payment allocation methodology and eligibility. A provider's estimated total allocation should be approximately 2% of their 2018 gross patient revenue.
- Data from EHR provider Epic showed that breast and cervical cancer screenings were down 94%, while colon cancer screenings declined 86% in March amid the coronavirus pandemic, compared with average screening volumes between 2017 and 2019. The American College of Radiology and the CDC have called for delayed cancer screenings during the pandemic, but continued declines in screenings could prompt later tumor detection and cancer diagnoses, according to Epic.
- A review of 208 EHR medication records and 250 Medicare Part D claims for 170 patients taking any of 22 different oral anticancer drugs found an overall agreement rate of 73.8% and a disagreement rate of 26.2%, in which 18.3% of Part D claims were not found in the EHR, and 7.9% of drugs in the EHR were not found in claims. EHRs may be missing for patients who received only a consultation or due to incomplete medication reconciliation or medical record information, and claims may be missing data for patients who went outside their drug plan to obtain medications, according to the research letter published in JAMA Network Open.
- Patient satisfaction drops significantly after the transition to a new EHR system , but satisfaction levels usually return to normal within nine to 15 months, according to a study published in the Journal of Informatics in Health and Biomedicine. Satisfaction with health care providers generally remains stable, but satisfaction with access to care and information and with wait time declines, researchers found. EHR Intelligence
The Drug Substitution Search Tool released by Scripta Insights aims to help those affected by drug shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic find substitute medications to avoid interruption of necessary treatment. The online tool has mapped nearly every drug on the market. Drug Topics

CMS News

- Last Thursday, May 7, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule that continues efforts to promote affordability, improve consumer choice, ensure program integrity, and increase market stability. In response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, CMS also announced a one week extension of the Qualified Health Plan (QHP) certification and rate review timelines. This additional time will allow issuers and states to better collect and assess data around the effects of COVID-19 and thereby establish more accurate premium rates. Also announced in the final rule on Thursday, is CMS' promotion of lower premiums and value-based plan designs while ensuring federal premium subsidies are not spent on ineligible people. Among the regulatory changes approved in the final notice released by the CMS for Affordable Care Act exchanges is a provision that health insurers will not have to count copay assistance from drug companies toward cost-sharing and deductibles. The agency did not make changes to automatic enrollment even though it was part of a proposed rule earlier this year, but it did allow an extra week extension for certification of a qualified health plan and the rate review timeline due to the coronavirus pandemic. To view the final rule, click here:
- A revised  Evaluation and Management Services Medicare Learning Network Guide is available. Learn about: Documentation, Billing and Coding.
-  CMS is waiving the video requirement for some telehealth services, which are added to the list of telehealth services that can be reimbursed for audio-only visits. The types of services that can be reimbursed under Medicare for audio only telehealth visits expanded to include behavioral health and patient education services, among other services.  See the list NOW- including Advance Care Planning.

Affiliate Association News
- 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.
- As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced healthcare providers to limit in-person visits, telehealth has expanded rapidly. In response to the need to obtain informed consent from patients for virtual visits, AHRQ has created a sample telehealth consent form that is easy to understand and guidance for clinicians on how to obtain informed consent for telehealth. Access more information about AHRQ's telehealth consent form and other health literacy resources.
- Telemedicine is enabling palliative care clinicians to bring the family to the bedside when patients are isolated, or allowing goals of care conversations and advance care planning without risk of exposure to COVID-19. ResolutionCare Network, a community palliative care service, uses a team of physicians, nurses, social workers and a chaplain, all working remotely to provide 100% of visits via telemedicine to a 200-patient caseload. This concept can be easily translated in your practices.
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.
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:
- The Community Oncology Alliance (COA) 2020 Conference was a smashing success, with more than 4,500 registrants, a fully virtual exhibit hall, and 16 full hours of content, with sessions on diverse topics like COVID-19, the expansion of telehealth, genomic testing and more. On-demand videos and presentations from the Conference are now available for all registered attendees. The only items required to access these materials are the email and password attached to your registration. Just visit the 2020 Conference site and log in. Next year's conference is, April 8-9, 2021 in Florida. Save the date!

Industry News

- AbbVie announced their acquisition of Allergan,  the combination of the two organizations has created a leading biopharmaceutical company with an industry-leading pipeline of innovative therapies. This is a transformative endeavor for AbbVie as they advance their mission to make a remarkable impact on patients' lives and enhance their value as a long-term partner to those who share their vision for solving serious health issues. During this period of transition, you can continue to expect the same high-quality products, service, and support you've always received from both AbbVie and Allergan. For AbbVie Customer Service, please contact 1-800-255-5162 and for Allergan Customer Service, please contact 1-800-678-1605.
- AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, LP announces the FDA expanded the indication of olaparib  (LYNPARZA®,) to include its combination with bevacizumab for first-line maintenance treatment of adult patients with advanced epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer who are in complete or partial response to first-line platinum-based chemotherapy and whose cancer is associated with homologous recombination deficiency positive status defined by either a deleterious or suspected deleterious BRCA mutation, and/or genomic instability. More Information
- Eli Lilly and Company announced that the Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval for Retevmo™ (selpercatinib) , the First Therapy Specifically for Patients with Advanced RET-Driven Lung and Thyroid Cancers. For more information go to
- Merck announced their new updated dosing information for KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) Injection 100 mg . Please click here (in sections 1.16 and 2.2) for more information and to see the new dosing.
- Novartis announces the FDA approval of capmatinib  (TABRECTATM, Novartis) for adult patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors have a mutation that leads to mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) exon 14 skipping as detected by an FDA-approved test. They also approved the FoundationOne CDx assay (Foundation Medicine, Inc.) as a companion diagnostic for capmatinib. More information
- Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE announced that the first participants have been dosed in the U.S. in the Phase 1/2 clinical trial for the BNT162 vaccine program to prevent COVID-19.  The trial is part of a global development program, and the dosing of the first cohort in Germany was completed last week. The Phase 1/2 study is designed to determine the safety, immunogenicity and optimal dose level of four mRNA vaccine candidates evaluated in a single, continuous study. The dose level escalation portion (Stage 1) of the Phase 1/2 trial in the U.S. will enroll up to 360 healthy subjects into two age cohorts (18-55 and 65-85 years of age). The first subjects immunized in Stage 1 of the study will be healthy adults 18-55 years of age. For more information click here

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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