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L. Fenton-Ambrose

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    MS 18 - Advocacy Snapshots (ID 36)

    • Event: WCLC 2015
    • Type: Mini Symposium
    • Track: Advocacy
    • Presentations: 1
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      MS18.03 - Developing a Framework for Excellence in Lung Cancer Screening - The Lung Cancer Alliance Experience (ID 1928)

      14:15 - 15:45  |  Author(s): L. Fenton-Ambrose

      • Abstract
      • Presentation

      The development and release of scientific validation and national guidelines and recommendations for lung cancer screening over the past several years has resulted in a profound paradigm shift in clinical opinion and outcomes for those at high risk for lung cancer. No other cancer is poised to realize the scale and magnitude of benefit that is now being reported for the lung cancer community. Given the import and potential of this opportunity, it was evident that there was a lack of vigor and focus by public health leadership to move aggressively and to take the next steps to develop programs and guidance to ensure the safe, responsible and equitable implementation of lung cancer screening and to bring proper health messages to those at risk. Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA), a national non-profit cancer advocacy organization, recognized this absence and stepped in to bridge these gaps and create an environment to support the adoption of best practices and consumer safety measures, as well as public service messaging about screening risk and benefit. Immediately upon the scientific validation of the mortality benefit of lung cancer screening, LCA moved rapidly to convene a multi-disciplinary team of health care professionals to devise a blueprint or framework to guide the responsible implementation of screening. The overarching goal embedded in this discussion was to ensure the public understood that they had right to know they could be risk for lung cancer and that they had a right to responsible care. This was particularly important after the National Cancer Institute (NCI) announced it was halting the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) as the end point was reached proving at a minimum a 20% mortality benefit. And thus, the LCA National Framework for Excellence in Lung Cancer Screening and Continuum of Care was born in February 2012. Embedded within this National Framework are the following guiding principles and elements: 1. Increasing the public’s awareness about risk and their rights to responsible care, including educational resources and campaigns to spread this message; 2. Creating a framework of agreed upon best practices to guide the safe and responsible development of a screening center of excellence medical center network that then leveraged member resources to support each other; 3. Creating collaborations and relationships with other professional and advocacy societies and outreach to public and private payers to effect change at the policy level. Today, there are currently 350 hospitals within the LCA National Network of Screening Centers of Excellence who have committed to following certain best practice principles of care. Dozens of other medical centers continue to contact LCA for technical assistance and are in varying stages of program development. LCA launched an ad campaign in 2014 to raise risk awareness which received 90 million impressions through TV, print, and social media in 15 paid markets and about 20 PSA markets. In addition, LCA has helped successfully lead first-ever public health coalitions to advocate for coverage and other policy changes linking together diverse partnerships. This has included engaging the current screening centers of excellence in communication with the US Preventive Services Taskforce (USPSTF), Congress and other regulatory agencies, working with an alliance of stakeholders including ACR and STS to encourage swift action on the part of Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services (CMS) to ensure coverage for at-risk seniors, and communicating with lawmakers and encouraging them to take oversight action to ensure public health strategies by our Health and Human Services (HHS) Departmental move forward as efficiently, effectively and equitably as possible. With the finalization of the USPSTF recommendation for lung cancer screening and coverage for Medicare beneficiaries, lung cancer screening is now a covered benefit for those at high risk, with no cost sharing, co-pays or deductibles. The LCA experience is an example of how an agile and responsive patient advocacy charity can provide critical institutional support and a national public health blueprint for the scale up of a new preventive service – that is patient focused and patient driven. By creating what in effect is a national pilot program for lung cancer screening, LCA proved that responsible screening and outreach could be reproduced in medical centers all across the country at the community level. And by working closely and directly with screening centers – we have established a deeper understanding of their needs which in turn has helped us tailor our continued outreach and support to better suit their needs. Our consumer-targeted awareness campaigns have shape a culture of consciousness among the public which in turn have allowed us to better design educational materials. LCA is committed to continuing to build knowledge about the importance of screening among the at-risk public, healthcare providers, and policymakers alike. LCA is proud to have seized an important moment in time to have built a foundation for responsible care when people at risk for lung cancer needed it most. Figure 1

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