News impacting community cancer care
April 27, 2024

Dr. Mark Fleming Authors Letter to the Editor on Site Neutral Payments

Dr. Mark Fleming, chair of The US Oncology Network National Policy Board, authored a letter to the editor (LTE) published in STAT News on April 27, on the need for site neutral payments. The LTE follows a recent op-ed by former HHS Secretaries Kathleen Sebelius (President Obama) and Alex Azar (President Trump) calling on Congress to pass site neutral payment reforms.

The op-ed authored by the former HHS Secretaries noted how both administrations advanced site neutral payment reforms: President Obama signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 into law which first implemented site neutral payment policy for the Medicare program, President Trump expanded this policy to include E/M visits in previously exempt facilities, and both presidents included site neutral policies in their budget proposals.

Dr. Fleming’s LTE builds on the former secretaries’ op-ed, highlighting the bipartisan nature of the policy and explaining how payment differentials between hospital outpatient departments and independent community practices are driving up costs and limiting patient access.

Dr. Fleming writes: “Regardless of party, policymakers can agree that giving patients the care they need close to home — at an affordable price — is critical. This year, more than 2 million Americans are projected to receive a cancer diagnosis — an all-time record — so this must be a priority.”

The LTE concludes by noting that the House of Representatives passed legislation that would require site-neutral payments for drug administration services, lowering out-of-pocket costs for cancer patients and reducing incentives for consolidation, by a strong bipartisan vote of 320-71. Dr. Fleming thanks the former HHS secretaries for highlighting the need to standardize payment rates across sites of services and joins them in calling for immediate action.

This LTE is part of The Network’s continued efforts to call attention to site of service payment differentials in outpatient cancer care and to urge the Senate to pass the House-passed bill.