U.S. President Barack Obama Proclaims September 2010 As National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Yesterday, U.S. President Barack Obama designated September 2010 as National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.  During National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, we honor all those lost to and living with ovarian cancer, and we renew our commitment to developing effective screening methods, improving treatments, and ultimately defeating this disease.

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release August 31, 2010

Presidential Proclamation–National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

While we have made great strides in the battle against ovarian cancer, this disease continues to claim more lives than any other gynecologic cancer. During National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, we honor all those lost to and living with ovarian cancer, and we renew our commitment to developing effective screening methods, improving treatments, and ultimately defeating this disease.

Each year, thousands of women are diagnosed with, and go on to battle valiantly against, this disease. Yet, ovarian cancer remains difficult to detect, and women are often not diagnosed until the disease has reached an advanced stage. I encourage all women — especially those with a family history of ovarian cancer or breast cancer, and those over age 55 — to protect their health by understanding risk factors and discussing possible symptoms, including abdominal pain, with their health care provider. Women and their loved ones may also visit Cancer.gov for more information about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of ovarian and other cancers.

Across the Federal Government, we are working to promote awareness of ovarian cancer and advance its diagnosis and treatment. The National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Defense all play vital roles in reducing the burden of this illness through critical investments in research. Earlier this year, I was proud to sign into law the landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA), which includes provisions to help women living with ovarian cancer. The ACA eliminates annual and lifetime limits on benefits, creates a program for those who have been denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, and prohibits insurance companies from canceling coverage after individuals get sick. The ACA also requires that women enrolling in new insurance plans and those covered by Medicare or Medicaid receive free preventive care — including women’s health services and counseling related to certain genetic screenings that identify increased risks for ovarian cancer. In addition, the ACA prohibits new health plans from dropping coverage if an individual chooses to participate in a potentially life-saving clinical trial, or from denying coverage for routine care simply because an individual is enrolled in such a trial.

During National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and throughout the year, I commend all the brave women fighting this disease, their families and friends, and the health care providers, researchers, and advocates working to reduce this disease’s impact on our Nation. Together, we can improve the lives of all those affected and create a healthier future for all our citizens.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 2010 as National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. I call upon citizens, government agencies, organizations, health care providers, and research institutions to raise ovarian cancer awareness and continue helping Americans live longer, healthier lives.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.

BARACK OBAMA

Source: NATIONAL OVARIAN CANCER AWARENESS MONTH, 2010, By the President of the United States of America, A Proclamation, Office of the Press Secretary For The President of the United States of America, The White House, August 31, 2010.

Medicare Expands Coverage of PET Scans as Cancer Diagnostic Tool

“The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final national coverage determination (NCD) to expand coverage for initial testing with positron emission tomography (PET) for Medicare beneficiaries who are diagnosed with and treated for most solid tumor cancers.  This decision applies to PET scans used to support initial diagnosis and treatment for most types of solid tumor cancers. … It also expands coverage of PET scans for subsequent follow up testing in beneficiaries who have cervical or ovarian cancer … A minimally invasive diagnostic imaging procedure, PET uses a radioactive tracer to evaluate glucose metabolism in tumors and in normal tissue. …”

“For Immediate Release: Monday, April 06, 2009
Contact: CMS Office of Public Affairs
202-690-6145

MEDICARE EXPANDS COVERAGE OF PET SCANS AS CANCER DIAGNOSTIC TOOL

CMS’ Coverage with Evidence Development Project Shows PET Scans as “Reasonable and Necessary” for Initial Treatment Decisions of Most Solid Tumor Cancers

Centers For Medicare & Medicaid Services

Centers For Medicare & Medicaid Services

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final national coverage determination (NCD) to expand coverage for initial testing with positron emission tomography (PET) for Medicare beneficiaries who are diagnosed with and treated for most solid tumor cancers.

This NCD removes a clinical study requirement for PET scan use in these patients.

Since 2005, Medicare coverage of PET scans for diagnosing some forms of cancer and guiding treatment has been tied to a requirement that providers collect clinical information about how the scans have affected doctors’ treatment decisions. This information was gathered through the National Oncologic PET Registry (NOPR) observational study. This decision removes the requirement to report data to the NOPR when the PET scan is used to support initial treatment (or diagnosis and “staging“) of most solid tumor cancers.

Medicare collects data from the NOPR under CMS’ Coverage with Evidence Development (CED) program. CED allows Medicare to develop evidence about how a medical technology is used in clinical practice so that Medicare can do the following:

(a) clarify the impact of these items and services on the health of Medicare beneficiaries;

(b) consider future changes in coverage for the technology; and

(c) generate clinical information that will improve the evidence base upon which providers base their recommendations to Medicare beneficiaries regarding the technology.

This decision is based, in part, on the information generated as a result of CMS’ 2005 decision to require NOPR reporting for many cancer PET scans. As a result of this evidence from NOPR, CMS reconsidered its 2005 coverage policy. This decision is the first time that CMS has reconsidered a coverage policy based on new evidence developed under the CED program.

‘This expansion in coverage for PET scans shows that the Coverage with Evidence Development program is a success,’ said CMS Acting Administrator Charlene Frizzera. ‘CED allowed us to cover an emerging technology, learn more about its usage in clinical practice, and adjust our coverage policies accordingly. Thanks to CED, Medicare beneficiaries have greater access to cutting edge medical technologies and treatments.’

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) equipment (Photo Source:  www.RadiologyInfo.org)

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) equipment (Photo Source: RadiologyInfo.org)

This decision applies to PET scans used to support initial diagnosis and treatment for most types of solid tumor cancers. It also expands coverage of PET scans for subsequent follow up testing in beneficiaries who have cervical or ovarian cancer, or who are being treated for myeloma, a cancer that affects white blood cells. For these cancers, NOPR data collection will no longer be required. [Emphasis added by Libby’s H*O*P*E*™]

It is important to note that today’s decision still requires clinicians to report data to the NOPR when using PET scans to monitor the progress of treatment or remission of cancer in some cases. Although the evidence generated by the NOPR study helped CMS determine that PET scans are useful in helping guide treatment when cancer is first diagnosed, scientific evidence is not as strong in showing that PET scans are as useful in making subsequent treatment decisions for some types of cancer.

A minimally invasive diagnostic imaging procedure, PET uses a radioactive tracer to evaluate glucose metabolism in tumors and in normal tissue. The test may provide important clinical information to guide the initial treatment approach (e.g., diagnosis and “staging”) for many cancers.

This additional information may help physicians to distinguish benign from cancerous lesions and better determine the extent of a tumor’s growth or metastasis. PET scans have also been used in subsequent testing for cancer patients, e.g., to monitor cancer progression or remission after cancer treatment has begun.

More information about the types of cancer covered by this new policy is available in CMS’ final decision memorandum. …”

SourceMedicare Expands Coverage of PET Scans As Cancer Diagnostic Tool – CMS’ Coverage with Evidence Development Project Shows PET Scans as “Reasonable and Necessary” for Initial Treatment Decisions of Most Solid Tumor Cancers, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Press Release, April 6, 2009.

Secondary Sources:

Comment:  The CMS Decision Memo involving the use of PET scans for solid tumors allows an ovarian cancer patient (who is a Medicare beneficiary) to obtain a PET scan for “initial treatment strategy” purposes.  “Initial Treatment Strategy” is generally defined by CMS as encompassing initial diagnosis or staging.  An ovarian cancer patient (who is a Medicare beneficiary) can also obtain a PET scan for “subsequent treatment strategy” purposes.  “Subsequent Treatment Strategy” is generally defined by CMS as encompassing “restaging” and “monitoring response to treatment when a change in treatment is anticipated.”

Health Insurance Essential for Health and Well-Being, Report Says; Action Urgently Needed from President Obama and Congress

“The evidence shows more clearly than ever that having health insurance is essential for people’s health and well-being, and safety-net services are not enough to prevent avoidable illness, worse health outcomes, and premature death, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine [IOM]. Moreover, new research suggests that when local rates of uninsurance are relatively high, even people with insurance are more likely to have difficulty obtaining needed care and to be less satisfied with the care they receive. …”

“Date: Feb. 24, 2009

Contacts: Christine Stencel, Media Relations Officer

Luwam Yeibio, Media Relations Assistant

Office of News and Public Information

202-334-2138; e-mail <news@nas.edu>

for immediate release

Health Insurance Essential for Health and Well-Being, Report Says; Action Urgently Needed from President and Congress to Solve Crisis of the Uninsured

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"America's Uninsured Crisis: Consequences for Health and Health Care;" A Report By the Institute of Medicine

WASHINGTON — The evidence shows more clearly than ever that having health insurance is essential for people’s health and well-being, and safety-net services are not enough to prevent avoidable illness, worse health outcomes, and premature death, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine [IOM]. Moreover, new research suggests that when local rates of uninsurance are relatively high, even people with insurance are more likely to have difficulty obtaining needed care and to be less satisfied with the care they receive.

The number of people who have health insurance continues to drop, and employment-based coverage — the principal source of insurance for the majority of Americans — is eroding, a situation that is getting worse with the current economic crisis, the report notes. In 2007, nearly one in 10 American children and one in five non-elderly adults had no health insurance. The average amount employees paid per year for family coverage in an employer-sponsored plan rose from $1,543 in 1999 to $3,354 in 2008. If there is no intervention, the decline in health insurance coverage will continue, concluded the committee that wrote the report.

The committee called on the President and Congress to begin efforts immediately to achieve health coverage for all Americans. Steps must be taken to reduce the costs of care and the rate at which health care spending is rising to make that coverage sustainable for everyone, the report adds.

‘Policymakers and the public can no longer presume that those without health insurance are getting the care they need through safety-net services such as charity care and emergency departments,’ said committee chair Lawrence S. Lewin, an executive consultant in health care policy and management. ‘The evidence clearly shows that lack of health insurance is hazardous to one’s health, and the situation is getting worse because of the erosion of employment-based health coverage due to the current economic crisis. The nation must act now to solve the uninsurance problem.’

The report responds to key questions being raised in the national debate about health care reform, including whether having insurance is essential for gaining access to necessary services given the availability of charity and free emergency care, and whether lack of coverage has wider ripple effects on whole communities. Written by a committee of experts in medical care, emergency medicine, health policy, business, economics, and health research, the report provides an independent assessment of published studies and surveys as well as newly commissioned research on the impacts of lack of coverage.

A significant amount of new evidence about the health consequences for individuals — particularly from comparisons of participants’ health before and after they enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid, and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program — has emerged since the IOM last studied the consequences of uninsurance in 2004. In addition, new research suggests that that high rates of uninsurance in communities can have spillover effects on the insured.

With health insurance, children are more likely to gain access to a regular source of care, immunizations and checkups, needed medications, asthma treatment, and basic dental services. Serious childhood health problems are more likely to be identified early, and those with special needs are more likely to have access to specialists. Insured children experience fewer hospitalizations and improved asthma outcomes, and they miss fewer days of school.

Adults without health insurance are much less likely to receive clinical preventive services that can reduce unnecessary illness and premature death. Chronically ill, uninsured adults delay or forgo checkups and therapies, including medications. They are more likely to be diagnosed with later-stage cancers that could have been detected earlier, and to die when hospitalized for trauma or other serious conditions, such as heart attack or stroke. Uninsured men and women with cancer, heart disease, serious injury, stroke, respiratory failure, pulmonary illness, hip fracture, and seizures are also more likely to suffer poorer outcomes, greater limitations in quality of life, and premature death. New evidence demonstrates that obtaining coverage lessens or reverses many of these harmful effects.

Based on the available evidence, the committee concluded that when a community has a high rate of uninsurance, the financial impact on health care providers may be large enough to affect the availability, quality, and cost of local services for everyone, even people who have insurance. For example, survey data show that privately insured, working-age adults in areas with higher uninsurance rates are less likely to report having a place to go for care when sick, getting a checkup or routine preventive care, and seeing a specialist when needed. They are also less likely to be satisfied with their choice of physicians or to trust their doctors’ decisions.

This report follows a series of six reports the IOM issued between 2001 and 2004 that evaluated how children, adults, families, and communities are affected by lack of health insurance. The series established principles for expanding coverage and culminated with a call for the President and Congress to act by 2010 to achieve coverage for all Americans. The current report reiterates the call for efforts to ensure everyone has access to effective health care services, a need that has not been met through reliance on safety-net services. The committee underscored the urgent need to begin now, given that coverage nationwide continues to decrease as more people lose their jobs and employer-based plans.

The study was sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine provides independent, objective, evidence-based advice to policymakers, health professionals, the private sector, and the public. The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council make up the National Academies. A committee roster follows.

Pre-publication copies of America’s Uninsured Crisis: Consequences for Health and Health Care are available from the National Academies Press; tel. 202-334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242 or on the Internet at http://www.nap.edu. Additional information on the report can be found at http://iom.edu/americasuninsuredcrisis. Reporters may obtain a copy from the Office of News and Public Information (contacts listed above). In addition, a podcast of the public briefing held to release this report is available at http://national-academies.org/podcast.

# # #

[ This news release and report are available at http://national-academies.org ]

INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE

Board on Health Care Services

Committee on Health Insurance Status and Its Consequences

Lawrence S. Lewin, M.B.A. (chair)
Executive Consultant
Chevy Chase, Md.
Jack Ebeler, M.P.A. (vice chair)
Consultant
Reston, Va.
***
John Z. Ayanian, M.D., M.P.P.
Professor of Medicine and Health Care Policy
Department of Health Care Policy
Harvard Medical School
Boston
***
Katherine Baicker, Ph.D.
Professor of Health Economics
School of Public Health
Harvard University
Boston
***
Christine Ferguson, J.D.
Research Professor
School of Public Health and Health Services
George Washington University
Washington, D.C.
***
Robert S. Galvin, M.D.,
M.B.A.Director, Global Health
Global Health
General Electric
Fairfield, Conn.
***
Paul Ginsburg, Ph.D.
President
Center for Studying Health System Change
Washington, D.C.
***
Leon L. Haley Jr., M.D.
Deputy Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief of Emergency Medicine
Grady Health System; and
Associate Professor and Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs
Grady Department of Emergency Medicine
School of Medicine
Emory University
Atlanta
***
Catherine McLaughlin, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow
Mathematica Policy Research Inc.; and
Professor of Health Management and Policy
School of Public Health
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor
***
James J. Mongan, M.D.
President and CEO
Partners HealthCare System
Boston
***
Robert D. Reischauer, Ph.D.
President
The Urban Institute
Washington, D.C.
***
William J. Scanlon, Ph.D.
Senior Policy Adviser
Health Policy R&D
Oak Hill, Va.
***
Antonia Villarruel, Ph.D.
Professor and Associate Dean for Research
School of Nursing
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor
***
Lawrence Wallack, Dr.P.H.
Dean
College of Urban and Public Affairs, and
Professor of Public Health
Portland State University
Portland, Ore.
***
INSTITUTE STAFF
Jill Eden, M.B.A., M.P.H.
Study Director”
***

Quoted Source:  “Health Insurance Essential for Health and Well-Being, Report Says; Action Urgently Needed from President and Congress to Solve Crisis of the Uninsured,Office of News and Public Information, The National Academies, Press Release, February 24, 2009.