February 2019 Message from the Director
I hope this message finds everyone well and warm as we find ourselves in the midst of winter. We’re only one month into the new year but have a lot of news to share with you!
NICA’s Response to Step Therapy in Medicare Advantage Plans
Last week, NICA submitted its formal comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expressing our concern with the CMS policy allowing Medicare Advantage (MA) plans to utilize step therapy strategies for Part B drugs. While we are very supportive of the administration’s goals to reduce cost across the Medicare program, there is great concern that permitting the application of step therapy in MA plans for Part B drugs may produce unintended consequences. Particularly, in the absence of strong safeguards to ensure beneficiaries are protected. Read the full letter >>
Federal Regulations for Starting an Infusion Center
One of the most common questions we receive is, “How do I go about starting an infusion center?” Those requests have not been disregarded, and we are excited to unveil the first of several resources on the topic of starting an infusion center. Our first resource will specifically focus on the federal regulations and operational issues that should first be considered before opening an infusion center. Whether you are hoping to open a free-standing infusion center or want to incorporate an infusion center into an existing clinical practice, this free resource is a great place to start! Learn more >>
Last month, we asked for your feedback on what you perceived to be the greatest threats to the infusion delivery channel, as well as the greatest opportunities for new educational content that NICA should produce for infusion patients, providers and other leaders in the industry. Stakeholders who took the survey indicated that insufficient insurance coverage and tactics such as step therapy have been the most significant barriers restricting patients’ access to in-office infusion.
There is also a clear need for more education about how to select the best health insurance option for infusion patients, and infusion providers would like content on best practices for in-office infusion centers and contract negotiations. Thank you to those of you who participated in helping guide our future education and advocacy efforts! We will take these suggestions under strong consideration.
Welcoming our Advisory Committee to Austin
We are excited that 12 members of the NICA advisory committee will be joining the NICA staff and board in Austin, TX later this month. Our advisory committee is comprised of senior leadership members at some of the biggest and most successful infusion centers across the country. We will discuss the results of last month’s survey, and, together, we hope to develop adaptive strategies and solutions that address these barriers to patients’ access to infusion care. Advisory committee members lend their time and expertise to NICA so we can preserve and expand the in-office infusion delivery channel, and we are very thankful for their contributions, not only to our organization but to the in-office infusion industry.
Thank you for your continued support of NICA! Whether you’re a provider member, advisory committee member, or you just follow us on social media, your involvement makes a difference in our organization and in the lives of the patients and healthcare providers we serve.
Thank you for your time,
Brian Nyquist, MPH
Executive Director, National Infusion Center Association
P.S., I am so excited to announce that registration for our inaugural meeting is almost half full! Thank you to those of you who took advantage of our Early Bird registration prices! Regular priced admission will be from now through April 13, so reserve your spot today before prices go up and ticket availability goes down.