April 24, 2023
Willamette Valley Cancer Institute and Compass Oncology Hold Advocacy Day at the Oregon State Capitol
On April 12th, the US Oncology Network State Government Relations team joined practice leadership from Willamette Valley Cancer Institute (WVCI) and Compass Oncology at the Oregon State Capitol to discuss a number of issues that are affecting both practices in a number of ways. Although the Capitol building is currently undergoing a massive earthquake proofing project which includes loud jack hammering, we were able to meet with a number of democrats and republicans throughout the day.
In meetings with leadership in both the Oregon House and Senate, Dr. Rushing, Dr. Fitzharris and Dr. Dunham focused on advocating for relief to independent oncology practices from the state’s Corporate Activity Tax (CAT). The Oregon legislature imposed the CAT on businesses’ commercial activity in 2019. Community oncology practices are currently subject to a significant tax, even though independent providers are different from other businesses and cannot––nor would they want to––pass along the costs associated with the tax. Unlike businesses, oncologists don’t set prices within a free market. Instead, they receive modest reimbursement from government payers, which often pay less than the actual costs of care which make up a large portion of their patients Oregon. Burdens such as the CAT could threaten both practices ability to continue to treat that population of vulnerable patients. That said, both practices paid a significant amount of CAT in 2022. These resources could be better used reinvesting into retaining skilled physicians, staff and practice infrastructure.
We left the Capitol on a high note with a bi-partisan group of lawmakers promising to make a CAT exemption for independent oncologist a priority of theirs heading into the spring CAT reform negotiations.
We also urged lawmakers to prohibit insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) from implementing policies that delay access to timely patient care and also highlighted the need to reduce the financial burden of healthcare language interpretation services on independent providers by supporting legislation that would reimburse clinicians for the cost of delivering these vital programs.
Thank you to the practice leadership from WVCI and Compass Oncology that traveled to Salem, Oregon and helped make our Day at the Oregon Capitol successful!