NCCN Policy Summit Speakers Say Flexibility

NCCN . Policy Summit

Photo: NCCN Policy Summit on Workplace Accommodations for Cancer Patients, Survivors, and Caregivers
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credit: NCCN

Washington DC [June 17, 2022] National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) hold a Oncology Policy Summit in Washington DC today on the topic of building a workplace that includes support for cancer patients and their caregivers. The programme, which also included a virtual attendance option, examined how workplace standards and expectations have changed in recent years, particularly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The conversation also examined the current legal and political landscape, as well as how generational shifts and the growing number of cancer survivors in the workforce are leading to cultural changes across the United States.

“We need a collaborative and flexible approach from employers, taxpayers, providers and healthcare systems to ensure high quality and equitable care for all our patients and their caregivers – meeting their needs with minimal disruption to their work and income,” John Sweetenham, MD, FRCP, FACP, FASCO, NCCN Chair, Professor of Medicine, Associate Director of Clinical Affairs, UT Southwestern Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center. “The pandemic has led to a shift in virtual cancer care and a renewed interest in interventions such as home infusion for cancer treatment. As home has become the workplace for many people since COVID, we need employment and leave benefits as well as regulatory policies that allow us to support patients in their homes.”

speaker Rebecca Nellis, MPP, CEO, Cancer and Careers Joint Findings from 2021 Cancer and Occupations/Harris Poll. It found that 74% of working patients and survivors reported that working during treatment helps them or helps them cope, and 75% of patients and survivors surveyed said they help them work or help them with treatment and recovery.

“There are a lot of misconceptions about working out after a cancer diagnosis,” Nellis explained. “Employers may think that people don’t want to work or can’t work, or that providing accommodations is expensive, and that taking one person means making changes for every employee. The truth is that working after a cancer diagnosis is more than possible. Access to guidance and supportive workplace policies It makes it easier. But it’s also a very individual decision with many factors to consider, including treatment plan, needs, personal preferences, disclosure, privacy considerations, type of business, company and team culture, etc.”

He said, “It is something that benefits everyone when employers do the right thing by patients and their families, especially those facing cancer.” Debbie Ware, CEO, Cancer Support Community. “It is important for employers to keep the needs of their employees at the center when making benefit decisions. Restricting or restricting access to quality care in a timely manner to reduce coverage costs is not good for the patient nor the company.”

keynote speaker Lynne Zonakis, BA, BSN, Director, Zonakis ConsultingD., former general manager of strategy and health resources for Delta Air Lines, also spoke about how to foster a supportive climate with benefits for the employer.

“Managing cancer and providing services that assist employees and dependents with illness, accompanying leave from work, return to work, emotional health, survival, and end of life is not only the right thing to do, but ultimately reduces the cost,” he said. Zunakis.

“Company leaders at all levels must be empowered to support their workforce,” agrees Angela Meslevyk, MD, senior medical director, WellMed.

Informing employers and employees

The speakers explored some of the knowledge gaps and misunderstandings that can lead to bad experiences for everyone. Employers do not always know what kind of support their employees need, and employees are often unaware of all the resources available to them.

“Employers and payers may find themselves unsure of how to address difficult questions for their employees, or not knowing what they can do to direct them toward reliable resources that support informed and wise decision-making, Warren Smedley, DSc (nominated), MSHA, MSHQS, Vice President, Kinetix Group. NCCN has worked hard to develop NCCN . Employer Toolkit, which is a reliable source of information to help prioritize strategies and tactics that support the highest quality of care, along with the most responsible use of resources for employers likely to be affected by cancer diagnoses in their workers. “

“It is very important for individuals with cancer and their caregivers to understand all of their employment rights and available benefits, so that they can make informed decisions about the best way forward,” he said. Joanna Fawzi Morales, Esq. CEO, Triage Cancer, who gave another keynote speech on the policy landscape to support patients, survivors, and caregivers in action. “While federal and state employment protection measures exist, there is a significant lack of awareness of these protections. There are also loopholes in the law that patients and caregivers may fall into. There are many opportunities to close these gaps to improve the quality of life for patients and their families and mitigate the financial toxicity of a cancer diagnosis.”

fair care

Several speakers focused on health equity issues and how they might relate to practices in the workplace.

“Exploring opportunities in the workplace to be more inclusive and accessible to all cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers will help build relationships of trust, informed care, and health equity/literacy,” he said. Randy Jones, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, Professor of Nursing and Associate Dean for Partner Development and Engagement, University of Virginia School of Nursing. “There is a need for clinicians to provide simple, non-judgmental information, with little or no medical terminology during patient interactions, so that patients and caregivers can understand what is happening with their or their loved one’s healthcare. Promoting racial and ethnic diversity in the oncology workforce is important To increase equality in the care that cancer patients receive, along with potentially strengthening the patient-provider relationship.”

Team member Fran Castillo, MSEd, Chief Operating Officer, Patient Advocate Foundation It was part of a conversation about the design of benefits and the role of policy makers. Speakers also cited data showing increased (and ultimately retention) productivity when employees have access to high-quality, timely care, examination, and treatment.

top appeared Clifford Goodman, Ph.D., Lewin’s Groupas a supervisor. NCCN CEO Robert W. Carlson, MDpresented the program during NCCN Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer Wui-Jin Koh, MD Final thoughts provided.

The NCCN Policy Program will host its next summit in September 16, 2022Focusing on reducing the burden of cancer through prevention and early detection. visit For more information, join the conversation using the hashtag #NCCNPolicy.

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About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) is a not-for-profit alliance of Leading Cancer Centers Dedicated to patient care, research and education. NCCN is dedicated to improving and facilitating high-quality, effective, equitable and accessible cancer care so that all patients can live a better life. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN . Guidelines®a) provide transparent, evidence-based, expert-aligned recommendations for cancer treatment, prevention and supportive services; It is the recognized standard of clinical guidance and policy in the management of cancer and the most comprehensive and frequently updated clinical practice guidelines available in any field of medicine. The NCCN Guidelines for Patients® Providing specialized information about cancer treatment to inform and empower patients and caregivers through the support of NCCN . Foundation®. NCCN is also progressing complete educationAnd the Global InitiativesAnd the Policiesand search cooperation And the publishing in oncology. visit For more information and follow NCCN on Facebook Tweet embedInstagram Tweet embedAnd the and Twitter NCCN.