As we bid farewell to 2023 and turn the page into 2024, I reflect upon our remarkable accomplishments and wonder how time can go so quickly and the pace of change as well. I have been given the privilege of helping to lead and guide this prestigious organization and I am constantly impressed by our achievements and unwavering determination to fulfill our mission.
As a grass roots organization, I have the honor to work with a Board of Directors that has the energy and focus of a steaming locomotive moving fast and furious to its destination. Throughout the past year, we have accomplished so much, and I am excited to share some of those achievements with all of you.
We kicked off 2023 with our semi-annual corporate round table that identified legislative priorities for the beginning of a 2-year legislative session. Among these priorities are the Prior Authorization Reform bills (House and Senate), Biomarker Access bill(s) (House and Senate), Co-Pay Accumulator bill(s), Fertility Preservation bill (also with ASCO), and the non-medical switching bill (along with ASCO), just to mention a few. We have diligently monitored the progress of these bills throughout the year and have taken proactive measures by sending multiple letters to the Senate and House leaders to express our unwavering support of these bills. We were thrilled to be asked to participate in an information session with ACS at the state house to provide valuable information on the biomarker bill(s) and show our support by sending letters advocating for these bills.
We are diligently staying updated on State Notice and Disclosure Law, Telehealth, and the funding and implementation of the Step Therapy Bill that we strongly advocated for and was successfully passed. We had a productive meeting with BCBS of Massachusetts, where we worked together to identify gaps in coverage for cancer patients and we continue to review their policies and provide them with guidance and clarification. Additionally, we are exploring their telehealth coverage to ensure it meets the members’ needs. We also eagerly backed national legislative bills, such as the telehealth bill and the Find Act Bill, in collaboration with ASCO.
In terms of advocacy, we have been providing annual grants to support fellows and local young investigators in Massachusetts. We have successfully identified multiple local advocacy groups and shared their information with our community. This greatly assists patients with accessing transportation and other essential resources. Some of our Board members attended the NCCN meeting in Orlando, during which I had the opportunity to participate in the state presidential forum. This has been instrumental in advancing our common interests both at a state and national level.
Throughout this past year, we have successfully built and integrated board committees that will now, moving forward, play a crucial role in advancing our mission. These committees will enable us to engage a broader spectrum of our constituents and build bridges to all the areas of our Commonwealth.
Our year culminated with our Annual Meeting where we honored and celebrated the achievements of Dr. Robert Meyer, MD, who was recognized as the (Arthur Skarin Award) oncologist of the year. We also presented the Young Investigator Award to Dr. Arielle Medford, MD, and had the pleasure of hearing about the remarkable work of Dr. Nancy Lin, MD, who received the Distinguished Researcher Award. Lastly, we were thrilled to present the Audesse Award to “Rays of Hope”, a nomination made by Dr. Prarthna Bhardwaj, MD.
And as this past year drew to a close, and as we try and shake off the winter blues, our work continues. We will eagerly move forward to grow, work, thrive, engage, listen, learn and push to ensure that our providers have the tools they need to give the highest quality of care to there patients; that there patients have all of the resources to get this high quality of care, and that MSCO will continue to be there local, independent resource to help with any issues that do not allow this quality of care to occur.
I am filled with excitement for this year, 2024, and I believe that we will continue to achieve great success in our mission.
Michael Constantine, MD, President