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Oncology Payment Reform, ASCO Presidential Address, and a New Health & Human Services Secretary

IP Blog | Dave Melin | June 8, 2014

BioBlogWeeklyThis week in healthcare, perspectives on payment reform in oncology and Sylvia Burwell is confirmed as the new HHS secretary.

How Progress Happens: An Industry Perspective on Innovation in Oncology

In the ASCO Daily News, Dr. Mace Rothenberg argues that the value of oncology treatment goes way beyond just cost. “In order to enable future cancer medicine development and continued improvement in patient outcomes, there must be a system that recognizes and rewards the substantial risk and investment necessary to undertake a process that may take a decade or longer, with cost upwards of $1 billion, with no guarantee of success.”

What It Costs to Be an Oncologist

Dr. Juneko Grilley-Olson shares her experiences learning more about payment reform at ASCO’s recent conference: “Even in my relatively sheltered existence, I realize the dysfunction of fee-for-service (FFS) payments, which are bizarre at best and asinine at worst. FFS, of course, rewards physicians for ‘effort’ and can inadvertently incentivize physicians to use more expensive tests and more expensive drugs, and to do so more often.” She also shares about ASCO’s new proposal for payment reform.

Science & Society: Fifty Years Later — The 2014 Presidential Address by Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP [full video & transcript]

If you missed ASCO — or even if you were there — this address by ASCO President Clifford A. Hudis is worth watching (or reading — the full transcript is also available). Dr. Hudis speaks on the conference theme, “Science and Society”.

How Sylvia Mathews Burwell cruised to HHS secretary confirmation

This past week, Sylvia Burwell, former Office of Management and Budget director, was confirmed as the new Secretary of Health and Human Services with a 78-17 vote. Ms. Burwell reportedly has bipartisan support, and has “impressed Sebelius critics with her commitment to transparency.”

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