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ASH President Submits Letter to Secretary-Designate Tom Price on 2017 Health Care and Research Priorities

(WASHINGTON, January 26, 2017) — American Society of Hematology (ASH) President Kenneth C. Anderson, MD, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, has submitted the Society’s 2017 policy priorities to United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary-designate Tom Price, MD. The letter affirms the Society’s commitment to working with policymakers on the following issues important to hematology. 

Access to Care

“ASH strongly supports access to affordable, high-quality health care for all Americans. ASH asks that any move to amend or repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) preserve access to hematologists and effective treatments for patients with hematologic diseases.”

  • ASH supports reforms that prohibit discriminating on pre-existing conditions and imposing lifetime benefit limits, while providing protections to ensure that consumers understand their coverage options.
  • ASH encourages efforts to combat high drug prices by supporting legislation that provides for insurance parity between patient-administered and intravenous chemotherapy, curtails out-of-pocket expenses, and limits the cost of drugs placed into specialty insurance tiers.
  • ASH seeks thoughtful consideration in tackling the opioid epidemic while avoiding unintended consequences that unnecessarily punish patients with chronic diseases, such as sickle cell disease and cancer.

Biomedical Research

“The field of hematology has experienced a recent surge in progress… Because this progress is largely due to federal investment, we ask that biomedical research support remain a top priority for the new administration.”

  • ASH recognizes the great promise shown in the field of immunotherapy, as well as potential dramatic benefits of new research tools in the areas of genetics and epigenetics, gene therapy, and regenerative medicine.
  • By funding agencies and foundations today, we can equip researchers to make practice-changing discoveries.

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD)

“More attention must be paid to SCD at a federal level to ensure that patients have access to high-quality treatments, to assist in the development of more treatments, and to expand the physician workforce caring for this vulnerable population.”

  • ASH encourages the use of multi-disciplinary approaches to support access to care, education, research, and global health needs in SCD.
  • ASH encourages HHS to implement a multi-agency approach to deliver advancements to SCD patients faster, cheaper, and more efficiently.

Physician Payment

“ASH will continue to advocate for appropriate physician reimbursement, adequate payment for cognitive physicians, and guaranteed reimbursement for preventive care."

  • ASH is committed to working toward fixing the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) to expand on quality measures for hematology and ensure smooth implementation of the Quality Payment Program. 

The American Society of Hematology (www.hematology.org) is the world’s largest professional society of hematologists dedicated to furthering the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting the blood. For more than 50 years, the Society has led the development of hematology as a discipline by promoting research, patient care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology. ASH publishes Blood (www.bloodjournal.org), the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, which is available weekly in print and online. In 2016, ASH launched Blood Advances (www.bloodadvances.org), an online, peer-reviewed open-access journal.

Stephen Fitzmaurice, American Society of Hematology 
[email protected]; 202-552-4927