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Advocacy Blogs

May 2024

ASH Committee on Practice Members Visit Capitol Hill

Following the ASH Committee on Practice spring business meeting, members of the committee visited Capitol Hill on Tuesday, May 7th, to urge Members of Congress to support individuals living with sickle cell disease (SCD) by cosponsoring the Sickle Cell Disease Comprehensive Care Act (). This bipartisan legislation, which is strongly supported by ASH, aims to ensure that individuals with SCD have better access to comprehensive, high quality outpatient care, including recommended clinical, mental health, ancillary, and support services by allowing states to establish Medicaid Health Home programs with SCD as the single qualifying condition for eligibility.

ASH members also urged Members of Congress to pass legislation to address the drug shortages currently impacting hematologic and oncologic practices. They also thanked Members of Congress for mitigating the last Medicare physician reimbursement cut and encouraged them to pass comprehensive legislation for Medicare physician payment reform.

ASH Policy Statement on Coverage of Fertility Treatment in Hematologic Care

In April, the ASH Executive Committee approved an ASH policy statement addressing fertility preservation and management at the intersection of hematology. Fertility preservation is a critical aspect of reproductive health care to safeguard an individual's ability to have children in the future and is especially important to patients with hematologic conditions given the complexity of the conditions as well as the regimens used in their treatment. The policy statement, which was drafted with input from the ASH Committee on Government Affairs and the ASH Working Group on Maternal Health and Hematology, establishes ASH’s commitment to ensuring coverage and access to fertility preservation services.

ASH Supports Congressional Resolution Recognizing Importance of DEI Efforts in Medical ѻý

ASH recently joined a number of medical societies and organizations in a resolution introduced by Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03), co-chair of the Congressional Black Caucus’ Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force, and Congresswoman Kathy Castor (FL-14), co-chair of the Congressional Academic Medicine Caucus, which recognizes the importance of DEI in medical education. The resolution affirms the need for a health care workforce that mirrors the nation’s diverse patient populations to advance health equity throughout the United States. To that end, the resolution commits to supporting DEI programs and academic freedom at medical education institutions.

ASH Joins Letter to Congress on FY25 CDC Funding for Public Health Data Modernization

ASH recently joined over 100 other medical societies in sending a letter urging Congress to pass a Labor, Health and Human Services, ѻý and Related Agencies appropriations bill that includes $340 million annually for Public Health Data Modernization at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Public Health Data Modernization ensures that public health agencies receive data that can be used for disease detection and outbreak response efforts. Funding for data modernization will also support the CDC’s Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics.

ASH Sends Letter to FDA re Draft on Collection of Race and Ethnicity Data in Clinical Trials and Clinical Studies

On April 26, ASH sent a letter to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in response to their draft guidance on the Collection of Race and Ethnicity Data in Clinical Trials and Clinical Studies for FDA-Regulated Medical Products (). ASH commended the FDA for releasing the draft guidance in efforts to update previous 2016 guidance. ASH provided comments on self-reporting of race/ethnicity, use of more detailed categories for race/ethnicity, and ways to include this information while maintaining patient access to products.

ASH Submits Comments on Medicare Prescription Payment Plan Communication Documents

In February, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the draft Part Two Guidance for the Medicare Prescription Payment Plan (MPPP). The MPPP was part of several improvements to Medicare Part D in the Inflation Reduction Act, and caps out of pocket (OOP) costs for beneficiaries to $2,000 in a plan year. The second guidance outlined CMS’ communication strategy to support patient education and outreach, and in March CMS released six model communication documents to support the MPPP. ASH submitted feedback on the model communication documents, supporting the program and outreach efforts and building on ASH’s earlier comments to CMS on the draft Part Two Guidance.

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Inpatient Prospective Payment System FY 2025 Proposed Rule Includes ICD-10-CM Codes for Duffy Phenotype

The FY 2025 Medicare Inpatient Prospective Payment System Proposed Rule includes a major policy win for ASH. The rule creates new ICD-10-CM codes to describe Duffy phenotype, which ASH requested through the ICD-10-CM public code request process last year. ASH member, Maureen Achebe, MD, MPH, participated in a public meeting to advocate, on behalf of ASH, for inclusion of Duffy phenotype codes in the ICD-10-CM code listing. The codes will be available for use beginning October 1, 2024.

CMS lists new ICD-10-CM codes in the released with the IPPS proposed rule. Table 6A includes four codes to capture Duffy phenotype status. The new codes are:

  • Z67.A1: Duffy Null
  • Z76.A2: Duffy a positive
  • Z76.A3: Duffy b positive
  • Z76.A4: Duffy a and b positive