Lifesaving action taken on clinical trial rules

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) has been a leading proponent of this rule-making action
Nov 08, 2012

Cancer patients are rejoicing over the recent action taken by the Washington State Insurance Commissioner to implement new rules for insurance coverage of patients enrolling in clinical trials.

Beginning Nov. 8, patients will no longer be denied routine standard costs of care coverage if they enroll in a clinical trial; thus, eliminating a crucial barrier that more often ended in coverage denials and impeded progress on promising research.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) has been a leading proponent of this rule-making action as it ensures that potentially life-saving treatments for cancer patients and survivors will be fully covered by their insurance.

“Participation in clinical trials can be a life-saving step for people diagnosed with cancer,” said Aaron Czyzewski, vice president of government relations for ACS CAN.  “Knowing their insurance companies will now cover the standard of care provides an additional measure of hope and options for patients, caregivers and the medical community.”

The change in coverage rules was widely supported by Seattle’s research community, one of the key drivers of the area’s local economy. Seattle is the fifth largest biotech center in the country and 17,500 of its citizens are employed in the industry. One in five jobs in Seattle are tied to the healthcare sector overall.

“Research treatments are very often the best options for patients. However, patients, even with the support of their families, face significant challenges as they try to gain access to these lifesaving treatments” said Marc Stewart, medical director of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. “The human physical and psychological costs are devastating to the patient and family members. Great expenditures of resources and time are made due to the variations in each patient’s individual insurance policy and the administrative complexity.”

“The more patients who participate in clinical trials, the more advances institutions like the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington make to help present and future patients live longer and better lives” continued Stewart.

In 2012, more than 1.6 million people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer and more than 577,000 people will die from the disease.

In Washington this year, 35,790 people will be diagnosed with cancer and another 12,140 will die of the disease.


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