Sep 2, 2020
In the latest ASCO in Action podcast, ASCO CEO Dr. Clifford A. Hudis shares a quick preview of what's to come for the 2020 ASCO Advocacy Summit and Week of Action, which will take place September 14-18.
Typically, ASCO volunteers from across the country gather in Washington, D.C. to advocate for policies that will improve access to high-quality, equitable care for people with cancer and ensure robust funding for cancer research through in-person meetings with their Members of Congress. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 ASCO Advocacy Summit will be a virtual event, but participants can expect the same important advocacy and education opportunities that the event provides every year. All ASCO members are encouraged to participate in the Congressional Week of Action by signing up with the ACT Network (through the Advocacy Center on ASCO.org).
Disclaimer: The purpose of this podcast is to educate and to inform. This is not a substitute for professional medical care and is not intended for use in the diagnosis or treatment of individual conditions. Guests on this podcast express their own opinions, experience, and conclusions. The mention of any product, service, organization, activity, or therapy should not be construed as an ASCO endorsement.
Dr. Clifford Hudis: Welcome to the ASCO in Action Podcast, brought to you by the ASCO Podcast Network, a collection of 9 programs covering a range of educational and scientific content and offering enriching insight into the world of cancer care. You can find all of the shows, including this one, at “Podcast dot ASCO dot org” (podcast.asco.org)
The ASCO in Action Podcast is ASCO’s podcast series that explores the policy and practice issues that impact oncologists, the entire cancer care delivery team, and the individuals we care for—people with cancer.
I’m Dr. Clifford Hudis, CEO of ASCO and the host of the ASCO in Action podcast series. For this podcast, I wanted to share with listeners a preview of the 2020 ASCO Advocacy Summit and Week of Action taking place September 14-18.
Typically, ASCO gathers volunteer advocates in Washington, D.C., in September for education sessions and in-person meetings with their Members of Congress.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic—like so many events scheduled to take place this year—the 2020 ASCO Advocacy Summit will be a virtual event, but that said, participants can expect the same advocacy and education opportunities that the event provides every year.
ASCO volunteers will meet with Members of Congress and their staff by phone or video to advocate for policies that will improve access to high-quality, equitable care for people with cancer and ensure robust funding for cancer research.
Advocacy Summit attendees will also attend webinars to receive education and training on lobbying Congress and the current political landscape.
What is different this year is our online Week of Action, which will give all ASCO members an opportunity to advocate on critical issues of great importance to the cancer care delivery system in the United States.
Participants in the Week of Action will amplify the Advocacy Summit’s messages through email and social media messages to Members of Congress using ASCO’s ACT Network. And, it’s easy to get involved and make your voice heard. You just need to click on the link to the ACT Network in the Advocacy Center on ASCO.org and sign up to receive ASCO ACT Network emails. Then, you’ll get all the information on the fastest and easiest ways to contact lawmakers delivered directly to your inbox. We hope you will participate as much as you can—the effort will take just minutes. Even one message a day by every ASCO member to your representatives in Congress will have a tremendous impact.
During the virtual Advocacy Summit, which will be held in the middle of the Week of Action on September 16, ASCO volunteer advocates will have their virtual meetings with Members of Congress and their staff. The three issues or “legislative asks” that they will be discussing will be the same asks that ASCO members will contact their Members of Congress about during the Week of Action.
One, we will ask Congress to support legislation—The CLINICAL TREATMENT Act, which will give all Medicaid beneficiaries coverage of routine costs when enrolled in clinical trials—coverage Medicare and private insurance plans already provide. The importance of improving health equity has become even more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this legislation takes us one step closer to that goal.
Two, ASCO volunteer advocates will request lawmakers to co-sponsor the Safe Step Act, which will help protect patients from harmful step therapy protocols, which ASCO believes is never appropriate in the treatment of cancer.
And three, we’ll address the impact COVID-19 has had on cancer practices and research. Specifically, advocates will ask Congress to endorse maintaining reimbursement flexibilities for telehealth, as many oncology practices have rapidly transitioned to telehealth to ensure patients continued receiving treatment during the pandemic. We’ll also be asking Congress to provide emergency funding to the National Institutes of Health to mitigate disruptions caused to labs and clinical trials by COVID-19, and to restart research across the county.
These are the same issues that participants in the Week of Action will be advocating for all week long in their outreach to Congress.
The goals of the Advocacy Summit and Week of Action are to advance priority legislation, amplify the collective voice of the cancer care community on Capitol Hill, and to get ASCO members involved in advocacy initiatives.
Members of Congress and their staff have grown accustomed to virtual constituent meetings, and personal stories continue to be the most effective form of advocacy, so the Advocacy Summit and Week of Action—even virtually—remain critical to ASCO’s larger advocacy efforts.
In addition to the meetings and messages between advocates and lawmakers, the ASCO Advocate of the Year and the Congressional Champion for Cancer Care will be named during the Advocacy Summit.
In closing today, I encourage everyone listening today to follow the Advocacy Summit through social media by way of the hashtag ASCO Advocacy Summit (#ASCOAdvocacySummit) on Twitter AND to participate in the Week of Action through the ACT Network.
A link to the ACT Network and all the information you’ll need to participate in the Week of Action is available at ASCO dot org slash ASCO Action (www.asco.org/ascoaction).
Until next time, thank you for listening to this ASCO in Action podcast and if you enjoyed what you heard today, don’t forget to give us a rating or review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen and while you are there, be sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode.
The ASCO in Action Podcast is just one of ASCO’s many podcasts; you can find all of the shows at “Podcast dot ASCO dot org” (podcast.asco.org).