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Let us Know Who you Know

As you know, we rely on all of you to help make sure that Members of Congress and the Administration understand that addressing barriers to accessing bone marrow, peripheral blood stem cell, and cord blood transplants is important to people across the country. Your letters, emails, tweets, and Facebook posts are making a difference. There is also another way you can help us at an even more critical level. 

Policymakers are most responsive to people from their own communities whom they know and trust. To complement our current efforts, we would like to call on YOU to let us know if you have a personal or professional relationship with any federal, state, or local policy decision-maker and if you would be willing to talk with them about protecting access to transplant. We need your support to help further educate these decision-makers. 

These deeper relationships can help bring about positive changes for patients with blood cancers and other blood disorders. Please click here to let us know about your relationships and willingness to help. We'll reach out to you directly when there is education or action your connection(s) can assist with. 

Act Now

Medicare Coverage & Reimbursement Update

As you may recall from past newsletters, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule for the Hospital Outpatient payment system over the summer. It included a proposal that would improve the way outpatient programs are reimbursed when they provide a bone marrow or cord blood transplant. We appreciate everyone who filed comment letters supporting this proposal. We anticipate that the final rule will be published at the end of October/early November. If CMS retains this policy, it will be an important step forward to protecting access to these lifesaving transplants. 

However, our work is not done. CMS has not addressed the problem with reimbursement for these transplants that are performed in the inpatient hospital setting. We will continue to work closely with the agency to try to address these issues.

We also continue our efforts to expand coverage of bone marrow and cord blood transplants within the Medicare program. 

Please look for updates on all of these issues in our upcoming newsletters.

Team Chris_272x248.jpg

Advocate Profile: The Contreras Family

In March 2015, Chris Contreras hit his elbow and it became infected -- leaving him with cellulitis and a staph infection.

When the symptoms returned that August, Chris and his wife Stacy (pictured here) spent time at the University of San Francisco Medical Center for further testing. 

After months of waiting for an answer, Chris was diagnosed with aplastic anemia in December 2015. The family was devastated. 

"Chris was a 36-year-old with three kids," said Stacy. " This turned our world upside down. This happened to our family, it can happen to anyone."

As the family coped with the news of Chris's diagnosis, Stacy said they were instantly inspired to raise awareness about the need for diverse donors to join the registry and raise funds to support families in need. 

"We want to help other people," Stacy said. "And, are dedicated to giving back in Chris's name."

Once they formed TEAMCHRIS, the Contreras family leapt into action, hosting numerous donor drives and worked with California Assembly Member Hadley to name May 2016 Bone Marrow Donation Awareness Month in their home state.

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