I have only been working at Lung Cancer Alliance for three weeks and in that short period of time I have connected with more amazing people, heard more inspirational stories and been more motivated for a cause than ever before. This cause is personal to me. Every day I come to the office I am not only fighting for each person in our community, but also for my father who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2012.
My role at LCA is Director of Health Policy. I have spent more than 18 years on and off Capitol Hill raising awareness, securing funds and advocating on behalf of several public health and education entities. I am jumping right in with our 7th National Lung Cancer Summit coming up on April 12th where we will have 100 lung cancer advocates to Washington DC to share their stories and impact direct change up on the Hill by speaking with their local representatives about the needs of our community.
Leading up to the Summit, I want to share with you some of the items we will be fighting for on the Hill that day, looking ahead this year and how you can help bring a voice to this important cause. Below are our two main focuses this year.
LUNG CANCER SCREENING AND EARLY DETECTION
Where It Stands: Under the Affordable Care Act, lung cancer screening is considered an essential benefit which requires private insurers to now cover the service for those at “high risk.” Additionally, earlier this year Medicare decided to also cover this life saving benefit.
Taking Action: At the Summit, as well as throughout the year, we will build upon the most recent designations by focusing on public education and implementation of lung cancer screening. We are working with Congressional Members and staff to ensure that HHS (US Department of Health and Human Services) and CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) are conducting proper outreach and working with states and physicians to reach everyone who falls within the at risk population and educate them on the importance of lung cancer screening.
21ST CENTURY CURES INITIATIVE
What Is It? The 21st Century Cures bill is legislation that seeks to address the way in which new drugs, therapies and medical devices are approved across all diseases. Sometimes it can take up to 15 years for a new drug or device to be approved, which is unacceptable. The bill promotes new and advanced technology, reduces “red tape” in an effort to get new drugs, and technologies to market sooner which, in turn increases the quality and timeliness of patient care.
Taking Action: As Congress works through this comprehensive legislation, we are ensuring lung cancer is a key focus, including provisions that focus on improving patient survivorship, supporting new pipelines for research funding and increasing transparency and accountability.
Look out for ongoing updates on our Health Policy work throughout the year!