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ASH President’s Statement on Senate’s Confirmation of Alex Azar for Secretary of Health and Human Services

(WASHINGTON, January 24, 2017) — American Society of Hematology (ASH) President Alexis A. Thompson, MD, MPH, of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, issued the following statement today on the confirmation of Alex Azar for the position of Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):

“ASH strongly supports access to affordable, high-quality health care for all Americans. While we were deeply disappointed in moves by Congress and the Administration in 2017 that threatened patients’ access to care, the Society stands committed to working with Secretary Azar to uphold policies that protect our patients. This includes supporting reforms that continue to prohibit discrimination based on preexisting conditions and imposing lifetime benefits caps while also guaranteeing that patients have affordable access to hematologists and the best-available therapies for their hematologic diseases.

“We are also committed to advancing scientific momentum and bringing the latest and best science from the lab to the patient where it has the power to save and change lives. To that end, we look forward to working with Secretary Azar to see that biomedical research and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) remain priorities, and that the NIH receives annual increases in funding.

“Furthermore, we will work tirelessly with the Secretary to expand and improve care access for those with sickle cell disease (SCD), increase funding for research of new therapies, enhance the education of physicians about the unique challenges faced by people with SCD, and ensure that any policy addressing the opioid epidemic is mindful of the needs of those with painful chronic conditions like SCD and blood cancers.

“Lastly, we are committed to working with HHS under Secretary Azar’s leadership to ease the regulatory and compliance burden for physicians to facilitate a smooth implementation of the Quality Payment Program under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA).

“ASH is pleased to serve as a resource to Secretary Azar on hematologic issues, and we look forward to working with him to address the Society’s priorities.”

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) (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