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Your Voice Makes a Difference to Congress

We recognize we continue to ask you to take action for Appropriations. We do this because your voices truly make a difference to the Congress.The dollars that the Congress allocates to our programs directly impacts patients searching to find their match.

With the release of the President’s FY 2018 budget, the Congress now begins its work to appropriate federal spending. Historically, the Congress has demonstrated broad bipartisan support for Americans in need of a bone marrow or cord blood transplant through the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program (Program) and National Cord Blood Inventory (NCBI). We again ask Congress to continue its commitment by appropriating additional funds to these programs operated by the National Marrow Donor Program® / Be The Match® on behalf of the government.

Modestly increasing the amount that the Congress funds the programs over current levels, will allow Be The Match to recruit additional ethnically diverse donors and add more cord blood units to the Registry. Each new donor or cord blood unit gives hope to someone in need of a life-saving transplant.

Help us again ask the Congress to continue funding and maintain its commitment to the Program and NCBI.  We cannot do this without your help!



Problems Facing Patient Access to Care

Patient access to care is our top priority. One of the biggest barriers facing our patients who are 65 years and older is the way Medicare pays hospitals when they provide transplants to these patients. This spring, we are awaiting the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) FY2018 inpatient hospital payment proposed rule. While we continue to work closely with CMS to try to address this problem, we do not expect a change in this policy.  We will need as many voices as possible to tell CMS that this policy must change to protect patient access to life-saving transplants. Please look for more information in our April newsletter for ways to get involved and make your voice heard!

In addition to our work on Medicare reimbursement, our team has also been focused on advocacy efforts around network adequacy. Current federal network adequacy standards do not require insurers to have a transplant center included in their provider networks. Patients who are in plans without a transplant center in-network may face additional barriers to care at a time when they are most vulnerable. Any delay in time to transplant due to administrative burden may be fatal. We recently submitted a comment letter to CMS addressing this important access issue and we will keep you updated as the agency continues to work on this policy.



Recent Article Highlights Issues of Medicare Reimbursement

Tamila L. Kindwall-Keller, DO, MS recently wrote an op-ed in the Charlottesville Daily Progress highlighting the lack of Medicare coverage for transplant. “…Medicare doesn’t decide whether to cover a stem cell or cord blood transplant until after the procedure is complete. This leaves most Medicare patients a choice: Turn down their only chance at a cure or potentially face paying the significant cost of a transplant themselves.”

Addressing the issue of Medicare coverage is going to continue to grow as seniors make up such a large portion of patients with blood cancers and diseases. As such, we have made this a primary organizational focus this year as noted above. This op-ed covers that issue and encourages the federal government to act soon to make sure transplant is accessible to all Medicare patients who need it.



Be The Match Walk+Run Events Bring Supporters Together

Last year, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar (D) attended the Minneapolis Walk+Run, in support of those affected by blood cancers and other diseases – like Ari and his family. Ari received a transplant as just a baby for an auto-immune deficiency. Klobuchar spoke to the crowd before the race about the importance of bone marrow and stem cell transplantation. She also talked about her support for funding the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program.


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