The Comprehensive Cancer Care Improvement Act (CCCIA), bears that name because it aims to ensure that cancer patients have access to care that combines primary therapy with symptom management and coordinated care. The Act itself is also comprehensive because it offers an aggressive and thorough set of recommendations for reform of the system of cancer care.

Over the past twenty-five years, the number of cancer survivors has increased from three million to nearly twelve million. The growth in this population is due largely to progress in the treatment of cancer. However, this system of advanced treatment has often failed to provide survivors with care that addresses the side effects of both cancer and its treatment, which have a significant effect on their quality of life. Cancer survivors may not receive appropriate management of pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and depression, and may not have access to psychosocial services. Many cancer patients do not receive a treatment plan at the beginning of therapy, or a summary of their care and plan for monitoring and follow-up care at the end of treatment.

The Comprehensive Cancer Care Improvement Act (CCCIA) includes a number of proposals that would advance a system of integrated cancer care and improved communication between patients and their health care teams regarding treatment options and follow-up care. By reforming Medicare reimbursement, enhancing training of professionals who treat cancer survivors, and testing and expanding model systems of integrated care, the Act would advance a comprehensive quality cancer care.

Evidence of the need for comprehensive cancer care

The reforms proposed in the Act are consistent with key recommendations of the 2005 Institute of Medicine report, From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition. Key among these recommendations are proposals that: 1) cancer survivors completing care be provided a treatment summary and follow-up plan and 2) programs be developed to encourage interdisciplinary systems for providing integrated cancer care.

If passed, the CCCIA would:

  • Establish Medicare payment for the development of a cancer care plan and the communication of that plan to the individual patient
  • Establish Medicare payment for the development of a treatment summary that would also outline follow-up care for survivors
  • Authorize a Medicare demonstration project to evaluate the cost and effectiveness of delivering comprehensive cancer care without limits that apply to hospice benefits
  • Establish grants programs, administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to enhance professional training related to the provision of comprehensive cancer care and to expand and evaluate model programs for the delivery of comprehensive cancer care

The CCCIA is supported by 38 National Cancer Institute designated comprehensive cancer centers across the country, 23 cancer advocacy organizations in the Cancer Leadership Council, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the world’s leading professional organization representing physicians of all oncology subspecialties.