Florida Cancer Specialists Press Release
Advocates Continue the Fight to Protect Cancer Care Access for All
Tampa, Florida – September 24, 2012….. Drs. Michael Diaz
(FLASCO Board Member), Julia Cogburn
, and Jose Alemar
(FLASCO Member) from Florida Cancer Specialists; Dr. Craig Stevens, (FLASCO Board Member), Radiation Oncologist, Moffitt Cancer Center
; local cancer patients, Patti B. and FJ; along with Dorothy Green Phillips, FLASCO
Executive Director, participated in the Community Oncology Alliance
(COA) Hill Day. These local constituents joined over 90 other patients, advocates and healthcare professionals to advocate on Capitol Hill about the many issues facing cancer care including drug shortages and decreasing access to care due to clinic closings.
These advocates met with local Congresswoman Kathy Castor
and members of her staff; and staff in the offices of Congressman Gus Bilirakis
and Dennis Ross
. Congresswoman Castor is drafting a potential fix to the SGR and she will share it with FLASCO and COA for input.
The group also met with staff in the offices of Senators Marco Rubio
and Bill Nelson
, to discuss the issues. Dr. Michael Diaz, who served as Chairman of the Florida group said, “both were empathetic about the defective ASP system and subsequent problems with access to generic drugs. They both said they would look into SB 733 that would fix prompt pay issues as well as Representative Cassidy’s current efforts to draft a bill that would correct the ASP reimbursement system to more of a WAC based reimbursement. They voiced support of/or have endorsed initiatives to prevent the 15% IMRT pending cuts on reimbursements. They are aware of the pending SGR 2% sequestration and 1% Medical oncology cuts that would cripple our ability to deliver oncology care in the community and have verbalized desire to mitigate these cuts as much as possible. They are aware that failure to correct these cuts will do nothing but add tremendous expense to Cancer Care.”
Local cancer patient Patti B. brought to their attention the negative experiences she encountered with oncology care in the hospital environment as well as the tremendous increase in cost associated with hospital based care. However, it was acknowledged that there are times when the best care for a cancer patient is in a hospital setting. Cancer Patient, FJ, explained that she is a patient who developed CNS mets and lost functional independence due to generic drug shortages.
Patients, advocates and health care professionals converged in Washington DC for the COA Hill Day 2012. This is the fourth year the group has lobbied on behalf of cancer care as part of a joint COA and Community Oncology Alliance Patient Advocates Network
(CPAN) mission to address the issues facing the cancer care delivery system.
“Physicians, administrators, nurses and other care team members came together with patients and advocates at Hill Day 2012 to meet with Senators and Congressmen about the many issues challenging access to affordable local cancer care,” said Dr. Michael Diaz, who served as Chairman of the Florida Delegation who went to Washington. “We must all be concerned with the future of cancer care because cancer touches one out of two men and one out of three women. We are grateful that the local advocates from the Tampa Bay area took the time to travel to Washington to educate legislators and speak out on behalf of cancer patients.”
Four out of five cancer patients in this country are treated in the community setting. Our community’s own cancer doctors struggle to treat their patients. We need to fix the system and protect community cancer care for current and future cancer patients. Traveling to Washington with COA, CPAN, and FLASCO is our way of supporting this important cause.
For More Information, Contact:
Michael Diaz, MD, Florida Cancer Specialists
Office Phone: 727.821.0017
Dorothy Green Phillips, Executive Director, Florida Society of Clinical Oncology
Office Phone: 813.677.0246
Cell Phone: 813.294.2620
Drs. Michael Diaz, (FLASCO Board Member), Julia Cogburn, and Jose Alemar (FLASCO Member) from Florida Cancer Specialists; Dr. Craig Stevens, (FLASCO Board Member), Radiation Oncologist, Moffitt Cancer Center; cancer patients, Patti B, and FJ; along with Dorothy Green Phillips, Executive Director, Florida Society of Clinical Oncology (FLASC), meets with Congressional Legislators at Community Oncology Alliance (COA) Hill Day 2012.