STAT News: Facing Criticism, CVS May Modify Its New Cost-Effectiveness Program for Covering Some Drugs
An article in STAT News notes that CVS may consider changes to its new cost-effectiveness program as a result of backlash from over 90 leading advocacy organizations representing patients, people with disabilities, physicians, and caregivers. Spearheaded by the Partnership to Improve Patient Care (PIPC), stakeholder groups criticized CVS Caremark’s decision last month to incorporate the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review’s (ICER)”quality-adjusted-life-year” metric in some of its coverage choices. “From a clinical care perspective, QALY calculations ignore important differences in individual patient’s needs and preferences,” the letter states. “From an ethical perspective, valuing individuals in ‘perfect health’ more highly than those in ‘less than perfect’ states of health, is deeply troubling.” Dr. Troyen Brennan, a CVS executive vice president and chief medical officer, responded to the letter saying that “It behooves us to spend some time to understand the concerns of the disability community and, if necessary, modify the measures so the process treats every life as being of equal value. We’ll go with the program we have now, but we’re looking for ways that we might modify it down the line.”
An article in BioPharmaDive highlights the latest pushback on efforts to establish quantitative frameworks for valuing medicines. These efforts, spearheaded by the Partnership to Improve Patient Care (PIPC), criticized CVS Caremark’s decision last month to “incorporate value-based drug pricing analyses in some of its coverage choices.” The letter, composed by many prominent groups including the American Association of People with Disabilities, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and Vietnam Veterans of America, argues that their “main issues with ICER’s framework are not new and mirror some of the criticisms laid out by the drug industry’s trade lobby PhRMA. The article highlights that Tony Coelho, President of PIPC and former Congressman who led efforts to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act, took a strong stance on CVS’ decision characterizing it as an “outdated policy that has no place being referenced as a value-based initiative.”
An article in BioCentury highlights the Partnership to Improve Patient Care (PIPC)’s recent letter to CVS Health Corp, which voices the importance of a reconsideration of a new formulary that would be restricted to drugs deemed cost effective by the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER). This formulary, the article states, would “allow clients to exclude from their plan any drug with a launch price that exceeds a cost-effectiveness ration of $100,000 per-quality adjusted life year (QALY) gained as determined by ICER.” The letter, composed by 94 patient groups and individuals, criticized ICERS’s cost effectiveness analysis by arguing that cost effectiveness inherently ignores existing differences among patients. “CVS spokeperson Christine Cramer told BioCentury that the firm believes as more PBM clients adopt such programs, manufacturers will begin to moderate lunch prices,” the article states
An article in the Washington Examiner highlights the Partnership to Improve Patient Care (PIPC)'s recent letter to CVS Caremark, which voices opposition to CVS' use of quality-adjusted-life-year metric. Joined by over 90 stakeholder groups, PIPC criticizes CVS for ignoring important differences among patients while relying on a flawed one-size-fits-all assessment. "Cost-effectiveness analysis discriminates against the chronically ill, the elderly and people with disabilities, using algorithms that calculate their lives as 'worth less' than people who are younger or non-disabled," the letter states.
Health care value is being defined through new payment incentives and value standards proposed and implemented by health care payers, policy-makers, and providers, but has long discounted the inclusion of patient perspective. As part of an effort to advance a “new direction” for the government agency, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Servcies (CMS) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking insights on how to better advance innovation in care and payment more representative of patient-centered care as part of the agency’s Innovation Center (CMMI). At the Partnership to Improve Patient Care (PIPC) Annual Forum, Ms. Amy Bassano, the Acting Director of CMMI, explained how CMS might test market-driven reforms that empower beneficiaries as consumers, provide price transparency, increase choices and competition to drive quality, reduce costs, and improve outcomes.
In an op-ed published in RealClearHealth, PIPC Chairman Tony Coelho examines the limitations of quality-adjusted-life-years (QALYs) and how this tools for value-assessment may systematically discriminate against patients and individuals with disabilities. As he writes, "Underlying all this is the key question we must ask ourselves when considering any policy related to the payment and delivery of health care: for whom are we creating this policy? Who is the ultimate stakeholder? If the answer is not the people served by health systems -- patients and people with disabilities -- then we have a serious problem."
PIPC Chairman Tony Coelho recently penned a blog for HuffPost, complimenting steps that are being taken that show progress in shifting toward value-based healthcare decisions. “While a tremendous amount of work remains to be done, policymakers took two steps recently that show progress is possible. One was approval by the Senate Finance Committee of the CHRONIC Care Act, a bipartisan bill (yes, they still exist!) whose success is attributable to significant stakeholder engagement and that, if enacted, will help to meet real patient needs.”
Chairman's Corner: Patient Voices, Patient Value: Stepping Out of the Ivory Towers into the Real World
In a blog published by The Huffington Post, Partnership to Improve Patient Care (PIPC) Chairman Tony Coelho urged members of the new Congress and new administration to listen to real patients and embrace health care solutions for that cater to all patients, caregivers and people with disabilities. "Patients wanted a voice in research and in health care policymaking, because, too often, traditional research is irrelevant to the goals we have for our health and our lives," Coelho wrote. Coehlo also noted that while Congress continues to focus on improving the "value" of healthcare, it is crucial for patients to have a voice in defining this value in their healthcare plans.
In response to Washington Post opinion article, "Keep this part of Obamacare," PIPC Chairman Tony Coelho emphasizes the fact that while the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) appears to be doing "some good work," it is also in serious need of changes to protect patients. "The Innovation Center created significant (if unintended) risks with some models that patients identified as going too far and driving “one-size-fits-all” care in stark contradiction of the nation’s drive to develop targeted therapies under the Precision Medicine Initiative and Cancer Moonshot," Coelho writes. "We all want health care to pay for value and not volume, but the real question is value for whom?"
In an op-ed published in Morning Consult, Lung Cancer Alliance president and CEO Laurie Fenton Ambrose highlights their participation in a recent Open Letter, in which PIPC and over 60 other healthcare stakeholder joined to state that “value” should first and foremost be considered through the eyes of patients and people with disabilities. As she explains, "Every one of us has individual needs, unique characteristics and personal preferences that factor into our health care decisions. We do not fit neatly into one-size-fits-all models and assessments that can drive certain clinical decisions on benefits, cost and effectiveness of treatments," she notes. "That is why we must have a meaningful role in the discussion of value as only we can offer real world input on what matters to us when faced with medical decisions that impact our quality of life."
In an op-ed published in Morning Consult, Donna Cryer, a President and CEO of the Global Liver Institute, a PIPC member, discusses how ICER's payer-focused perspective could harm patients by limiting patient access to medications. "It is unacceptable when payers, instead of patients and providers, use these reports to drive clinical decision-making based on mathematical assessments of so-called 'average value' – although I’ve never met an 'average' patient," she explains. "It is even more frustrating to think that public programs could sidestep patient protections embedded in the Medicare law through a nationwide 'demonstration project' that would allow these assessments to define treatment value."
Inside Health Policy: Senators Raise Concerns With Part B Drug Pay Demo's Size, Effect On Rural Providers
This morning, Inside Health Policy highlighted the ongoing concerns of senators from both parties over the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recent proposal on Part B drug payment. The two-part demonstration would adjust the physician reimbursement formula and use value-based pay arrangements in its second phase.
Partnership to Improve Patient Care (PIPC) Chairman Tony Coelho commented as a part of the article, noting that patient groups “stand ready to work with CMS to develop alternative patient-centered approaches, but CMS’ failure to engage patients from day one has resulted in a deeply flawed proposal.” In a statement, Coelho was also quoted as saying, "CMS stirred up such controversy that they really have no choice but to start over and initiate a new more engaged process so patients are with them and not against them on this."
An article posted today in Inside Health Policy outlines the concerns of patient advocacy groups with the proposed use of value-based assessments in the second phase of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Part B drug pay demo. The second phase specifically involves value-based pay arrangements including the use of discounts or elimination of patient cost-sharing; prescribing patterns; and indications-based pricing.
Representatives from various patient groups offered their concerns. Donna Cryer of the Global Liver Institute criticized the use of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) to help determine a value-based payment framework as the Institute has little engagement with patient groups. Patient advocates have also raised concerns with the Institute's methodology.
An article in Healthcare Dive highlights the Partnership to Improve Patient Care (PIPC)'s recent letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), which voices their opposition to the agency's Medicare Part B demo. The group expressed concerns over CMS' proposed use of comparative effectiveness research and cost effectiveness as national Medicare standards in phase two of the proposal and urged the agency not to move forward with the proposed rule unless it accommodates people with disabilities.
Libertarian Republic: Proposed Medicare Rule Would Use Metric Banned During Obamacare Death-Panel Debate
An article posted today in The Libertarian Republic highlights the fact that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) recent Medicare Part B demonstration proposal would use a quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) metric for rationing health care, which was banned following the Affordable Care Act (ACA) death-panel debate.
The article also features the concerns of patient advocacy groups, including the Partnership to Improve Patient Care (PIPC), over the demonstration's potential to limit drug access for the elderly and physically disabled. They expressed concern that the QALYs metric fails to take real-life consequences into account - like doctors being pushed toward cheaper yet possible less effective treatment options.