U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1), and Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) introduced The Comprehensive Cancer Survivorship Act (CCSA), legislation that will address gaps in survivorship care and develop desperately needed standards to improve the overall patient-centered quality of care and navigation needs of cancer survivors and their families.
For every cancer survivor, this deadly disease imposes vastly different and highly personal experiences. With more than 18 million cancer survivors in the United States, and 26 million expected by 2040, there is an urgent need to empower them with the best possible resources and care to overcome this terrible disease. The CCSA will set new standards of care to ensure the best and most seamless experience for survivors, their families, and caregivers, throughout their survivorship journey, from diagnosis to end of life.
"As a fifteen-year cancer survivor, confronting it head-on, with an all-hands-on-deck approach, is my personal and professional mission. With the Comprehensive Cancer Survivorship Act, I am proud to introduce far-reaching legislation that better enables cancer survivors to choose their own path, provides them agency and autonomy over their personal health experiences and decisions, and addresses the entire survivorship continuum of care," said Wasserman Schultz. "From the point of diagnosis, through active treatment and transitions to primary care, until the end of life, this legislation sets the standards of care that all survivors need and deserve. The CCSA confronts care planning, transition, navigation, workforce, education, and awareness, and empowers survivors with the best possible resources and care to overcome this terrible disease."
"Living with or surviving cancer is personal for so many families across our nation, and, thanks to increased access to preventive care, which leads to early detection, the rate of cancer survivorship continues to grow," said Cardin. "Our legislation recognizes the importance of investing in improving quality of life and long-term care of cancer survivors who have bravely fought and won their battles against cancer."
"As a result of advances in early detection and access to effective treatments, more people are recovering after their cancer diagnoses. That's why we must do everything we can to improve care services and quality of life for cancer survivors," said Klobuchar. "This bipartisan legislation will do just that, ensuring that more survivors receive comprehensive, coordinated post-diagnosis and post recovery care that addresses their unique treatment needs throughout the course of their life."
"Each year, our nation makes new advancements in cancer treatment, increasing the number of cancer survivors across the country," said Fitzpatrick, Co-Chair of the Congressional Cancer Caucus. "It is time that we set standards of care for those who are cancer survivors, and we address the emotional, financial, and physical challenges that these millions of Americans are faced with. Like so many in America, the fight against cancer is personal to me, and I am proud to join my colleagues in both chambers on both sides of the aisle in introducing the Comprehensive Cancer Survivorship Act."
"As an 8-year survivor of a non-curable treatable blood cancer, I know firsthand how important a seamless continuum of care is," said DeSaulnier. "I am proud to join Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz and my colleagues in leading this effort to ensure every cancer survivor in America has access to the support and resources they need to be healthy and happy in all facets of life. I am also pleased that this legislation includes my Cancer Care Planning and Communications Act to help Medicare patients be better informed about their cancer diagnoses."
The CCSA's key pillars:
Care Planning and Transition: Provides coverage to address the transition to primary care to help survivors develop personalized treatment care plans, standardizes processes, and consolidates treatments to guide survivorship monitoring and follow-up care;
Alternative Payment Model: Studies existing reimbursement landscape to develop an alternative payment model to ensure a coordinated approach to survivorship care across an episode of care;
Navigation: Develops effective and comprehensive navigation services that emphasize the continuum of care, such as follow-up and health disparities and determinants, like food insecurity, housing, transportation, labor, broadband, telehealth access, and childcare;
Quality of Care: Establishes grants to promote utilization of navigation, employment of risk-stratification, transition to primary care, utilization of care plans, potential use of at-home care, and better use of information technology for patient experience data;
Workforce: Establishes workforce assistance grants to help survivors, their families, and caregivers when faced with a range of workforce challenges; and
Education, Awareness: Creates resources for survivors and health professionals to promote early detection, preventive care and help providers provide high-quality services.
The CCSA also addresses innovation and technology use, fertility preservation, long-term studies, survivorship resources, and provisions concerning childhood and adolescent cancer.