From the Editor

Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) have developed a new approach to marketing themselves as stewards of the self-funded employers’ healthcare benefit, and it is having direct negative consequences for patients. Under the alternate funding program, new or costly therapies used to treat serious and chronic conditions, including cancer, are being singled out. Read More ›

This edition of Year in Review is focused on gastric cancer, esophageal cancer, and gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer, and immunotherapy and targeted therapies used in the management of these cancers. Read More ›

On August 31, 2021, proposed revisions to the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) General Chapter 797 Pharmaceutical Compounding – Sterile Compounding (USP) were published. For several years, different versions of USP have fostered concern and confusion about whether these pharmacy standards apply to (and will impact) the drug preparation and handling that is an integral part of oncology medical practices, as well as other specialties. Read More ›

On July 1, 2021, a new Anthem policy on drug dose reduction for dozens of oncology treatments became effective in 14 states (CA, CO, CT, GA, IN, KY, ME, MO, NV, NH, NY, OH, VA, and WI). Physicians and patients across the country are questioning whether this has become a prime example of a private payer coverage policy that is driven more by fiscal concerns than evidence-based medicine, interfering with patient access to standard-of-care treatments. Read More ›

Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) have become a fixture in the drug supply chain. They serve as administrators of prescription drug benefits for those who pay for care, including commercial health plans, self-insured employer plans, Medicare Part D plans, and state government employee plans. According to the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA), PBMs administer prescription drug plans for more than 266 million Americans. Read More ›

Rumors about the entry of Amazon into the healthcare arena have been circulating for years. Now, it has become a reality in all 50 states. Although there is no guarantee that this venture will be successful, it is likely to become a seismic event for all healthcare providers and patients. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge and address its potential impact sooner rather than later. Read More ›

Last year was an adventure. We learned a lot, and we changed even more. Many of us woke up on January 1, 2021, wondering what the new year would bring. We are already getting some answers. Activities and initiatives that slowed down during the learning curve of the COVID-19 pandemic are beginning to rev up again. The ushering in of the new administration has opened doors to staffing and policy changes, with new directives being sent out at an unprecedented rate. Read More ›

No one can say that 2020 has been an ordinary year, although for most of us, it started out in a fairly normal manner. For me, it meant celebrating the New Year, writing, and enjoying some occasional snow. My speaking engagements and travel began ramping up in January, February, and early March, which allowed me to meet with colleagues and clients at practices, hospitals, and conferences. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and the bottom dropped out of all our worlds. Read More ›

In addition to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the oncology community has been buffeted by a cacophony of headlines and concerns regarding the cost of care, value-based performance contracts, staffing shortages, revenue cycles, clinical pathways, and competition. Entire industries, such as medical benefit managers, have sprung up to oversee providers and ensure that they are delivering only medically necessary care. Although we know that all of the things we do on a daily basis are aimed at improving the lives of patients, this extraneous noise can be distracting and disconcerting. Read More ›

In the best of times, managing an oncology practice is an adventure. Every day the doors to the practice open, and the physicians and staff greet, support, and empower the patients who come in for guidance, diagnosis, and treatment. Read More ›

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