The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation Awards $100,000 to Winners of the Lung Cancer Early Detection Challenge: Concept to Clinic

Posted: Feb 6, 2018 | Posted by Kassy Perry

Global collaboration among data scientists, engineers, developers, coders, radiologists and physicians to end the world’s deadliest cancer.

The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) today announced Willi Gierke, an IT systems engineering student, will receive more than $30,000 as the leader in points in the Lung Cancer Early Detection Challenge: Concept to Clinic. Gierke, a master’s student at Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany, and more than 600 contributors from around the world have been working in a collaborative fashion to create open source software with the goal of building out artificial intelligence (AI) that will help lung cancer patients live longer.

“The focus of the challenge was to make artificial intelligence advances useful, not just for data scientists interested in cutting edge methods, but for clinicians working on the front lines of lung cancer detection and the patients they serve,” said Bonnie J. Addario, a 14-year lung cancer survivor and ALCF founder. “My hope is that the winners of this challenge continue the momentum of this exciting project to help radiologists detect lung cancer earlier and save lives.”

During the challenge, run by DrivenData in partnership with ALCF, contributors used patients and radiologists input to build out state-of-the-art algorithms applied to detection and assessment of individual nodules from CT scans. Throughout the competition, a technical panel of experts awarded points and prizes to data scientists, engineers, User Interface (UI) developers and coders based on how valuable their submissions were to the project in the different areas of need: AI-powered prediction models, backend engineering, frontend design implementation and community development.

“I really liked the challenge of building a piece of software that should actually be used by clinicians,” Gierke said. “While the results of the Data Science Bowl 2017 are outstanding without any doubt, the algorithms that were developed for the competition cannot be used in their current forms by radiologists. This challenge was aimed at making the developed approaches available to medical experts, which is a crucial follow-up to such a pure data science competition.”

Top prizewinners were:

  • Willi Gierke, Student, Hasso Plattner Institute, Potsdam, Germany – $30,840
  • Anton Dobrenkii, Student, Innopolis University, Ufa, Russia – $26,530
  • Serhiy Shekhovtsov, Software Developer, Lviv, Ukraine – $15,989

“Building, training, and validating algorithms is only the very first step in taking better care of patients,” said Adjunct Professor Jason M. Hostetter, M.D. from the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, one of the challenge’s advisors. “The next huge challenge is making these algorithms work in the real world, in the hands of clinicians who are face to face with a patient. We will need better software tools to make this possible, and the Concept to Clinic challenge is a great way to address this need collaboratively.”

As one of the few patient-driven, patient-focused nonprofits that run crowdsourcing challenges, this is the third year that ALCF has announced the results of a crowdsourcing challenge. The five-year survival rate for lung cancer is 55 percent when the disease is still in the lung, but just four percent once it has spread to other parts of the body. Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in the world, killing more people than the next three most common cancers (breast, colon, prostate) combined. This year physicians will diagnose nearly 225,000 Americans with lung cancer.

In addition to monetary awards provided by ALCF, several of the challenge partners have made prizes available throughout the competition, recognizing everyone’s efforts who participate. In-kind sponsors include Amazon Web Services, Docker, Fossa GitHub and Travis CI.

To learn more about the challenge and watch the video, click here.


About the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation
The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) is one of the largest international philanthropies (patient-founded, patient-focused and patient-driven) devoted exclusively to eradicating lung cancer through research, early detection, education and treatment. The Foundation’s goal is to work with a diverse group of physicians, organizations, industry partners, individuals, patients, survivors and their families to identify solutions and make timely and meaningful change and turn lung cancer into a chronically managed disease by 2023. The ALCF was established on March 1, 2006, as a 501c(3) non-profit organization and has raised more than $30 million for lung cancer research and related programs. The foundation has received four stars from Charity Navigator and has earned the platinum GuideStar nonprofit seal of transparency. For more information about the ALCF please visit www.lungcancerfoundation.org or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

The California Chronic Care Coalition Stars of Advocacy Gala Honors Heroes of Health Care Advocacy

Posted: Jan 25, 2018 | Posted by Kassy Perry

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (January 25, 2018)  – Tonight, the  California Chronic Care Coalition (CCCC) acknowledged policymakers, advocates and volunteers  for their efforts to improve access to affordable, quality care for Californians with chronic conditions. The organization’s Stars of Advocacy Gala at the Elks Tower Ballroom in Sacramento honored three policymakers and more than one dozen Stars of Advocacy for their demonstrated commitment to overcoming disparities and reducing barriers to care.

“The work being done by these legislators and volunteers supports our efforts to help patients with  chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis, sickle cell, heart attacks, multiple sclerosis and more,” said Liz Helms,  founder and CEO of CCCC. “The work of our honorees includes outreach to some of California’s most underserved, ethnically diverse comunities. The honorees have demonstrated their commitment to overcoming social and  economic disparities to provide valuable services to those living with chronic and acute condtitions.”

Honorees included:

  • The Legacy Award – Diana S. Dooley, Secretary, California Health and Human Services Agency
  • Legislator of the Year Awards
    • Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama)
    • Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Rusty Selix, Mental Health Advocate
  • Advocate of the Year – Hattie Rees-Hanley, MPP, Director, The Right Care Initiative

The other Stars of Advocacy honored were:

  • Lynette Blumhardt, Legislative Ambassador – Nominated by the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California and Northern Nevada for fundraising and engaging Representative Doris  Matsui (D-CA06) and the public in the vital discussion and education necessary to conquer Alzheimer’s.
  • Eve Bukowski, Vice President State Government Affairs, California Life Sciences Association – Recognized by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) for her work to improve the care and access to emerging treatments for patients with chronic diseases.
  • Beatrice Cardenas-Duncan, Volunteer/Advocate – Nominated by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association for more than a decade of volunteer and advocacy work on campaigns such as California’s tobacco tax increase, San Francisco’s sugar sweetened beverage tax campaign and bans on flavored tobacco products.
  • Gary R. Feldman, M.D., Past President, California Rheumatology Alliance – Recognized for his career achievements as a clinician and elevating the California Rheumatology Alliance’s presence and influence within the legislature on behalf of patient access to rheumatology care.
  • N. Gordon, Founding Director, Help & Education for Liver Patients (HELP!) – Honored for fundraising, organ donor awareness campaigns and helping liver patients get on organ transplant lists.
  • Thelma Harris, RN, Volunteer/Advocate, Carrie’s Touch – Recognized for her service to African American women who are undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
  • Donna Kalauokalani, M.D., President of the Board of Directors, American Chronic Pain Association Board of Directors – Honored for her commitment to furthering programs that assist and enrich the lives of those living with chronic pain.
  • Tony Maynard, Past Board and Committee Member, Hemophilia Council of California (HCC) – Recognized for his efforts to increase access to affordable, quality health care for individuals who live with pre-existing conditions.
  • Katherine McMahon, Manager, Lupus LA – Recognized for assisting lupus patients with care, increasing awareness, and lobbying to increase research funding and protect patient programs.
  • Patty Molinaro, Nurse Navigator, California Health Collaborative, Every Woman Counts Clinical Coordinator – Honored for helping hundreds of women with breast and/or colon cancer navigate their health care journey.
  • James Stewart, District Activist/Leader, National Multiple Sclerosis Society – Well-known resource on health access and disability rights issues to Representative Mike Thompson (CA-05), a member of the Multiple Sclerosis Congressional Caucus. Successfully garnered legislative support for continuity of care and timely access to care legislation.
  • Scott Suckow, Executive Director, American Liver Foundation, Pacific Coast Division, Convenor, California Chronic Care Coalition of San Diego County – Recognized for serving as a critical source of information during and after San Diego’s recent Hepatitis A outbreak.

About the California Chronic Care Coalition (CCCC)

The CCCC represents an estimated 16 million Californians with chronic medical conditions through a unique alliance of over 30 non profit health organizations, physician and provider groups. The coalition is dedicating to developing a system of care that is accessible, affordable and high quality.  The primary objectives promote prevention, early diagnosis, coordination of care, utilizing best practices that are evidenced based and support wellness, quality of life and longevity. For more information go to www.chroniccareca.org.

National Collegiate Equestrian Association Announces Signature Academics as New Corporate Sponsor

Posted: Jan 24, 2018 | Posted by Kassy Perry

Signature Academics is dedicated to ensuring today’s equestrian athletes excel in the classroom as well as in the show ring

The National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) today announced Signature Academics as the newest addition to a growing list of corporate sponsors who support the advancement of Women’s Equestrian on the path to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship sport status.

“We are excited to welcome Signature Academics as a national sponsor for the NCEA,” said Tom O’Mara, Co-Chair of the NCEA National Advisory Board. “Their support and vision in advancing the opportunities for young women in our sport is greatly appreciated. As a father of two NCEA equestrian alumni, I know first-hand how difficult it can be to balance school work while competing at the highest level. Signature Academics ensures our student-athletes don’t have to choose between the sport that they love and academic excellence.”

The team of educators at Signature Academics is committed to ensuring each student’s academic success. Signature Academics thoroughly understands the sport and the time, traveling and training commitments it takes for equestrian student-athletes to succeed. By sponsoring the NCEA Student-Athlete of the Month Award, Signature Academics is highlighting the student-athletes who go above and beyond as well as helping advance the sport to NCAA Championship Sport status.

“All of us at Signature Academics and our partner, Wellington Preparatory School, are thrilled to support the NCEA as it focuses on increasing opportunities for top equestrian student-athletes at colleges and universities nationwide. From the beginning, the mission of Signature Academics has been to support high level, equestrian student-athletes in maintaining academic excellence as they train, travel, and compete. The NCEA Student-Athlete of the Month Award recognizes college athletes who are doing exactly that. These award-winning student-athletes work hard, earn their successes, and are role models for the future of equestrian sport.” Wendy Solomon, Executive Director of Signature Academics.

With more than 900 women currently participating on NCAA equestrian teams, and thousands more high school students aspiring to compete on college teams, the NCEA remains committed to the expansion of meaningful educational opportunities for women through athletics.

“The expansion of national sponsors brings more excitement to the sport of equestrian and shines a light on the hard working, successful and award-winning equestrian student-athletes that make up our programs. We value the support of such a strong academic organization as we advance the sport of equestrian at the collegiate level,” said Kevin Hurley, Senior Associate Athletics Director at Texas A&M University.

Promoting academic excellence remains one of the NCEA’s top priorities. The average GPA among NCEA student-athletes in the 2013-14 academic year was a 3.28. By highlighting the impressive academic success of these young women, the NCEA is transforming the way equestrian collegiate sports are perceived while assisting student-athletes in their equestrian and/or career pursuits.

“Signature Academics has a reputation of providing the finest of academic support systems in the competitive equestrian setting. Signature Academics has been a major part in supporting potential student-athletes while away from their home school. We are thrilled to be connected to such a high-quality company,” said Dr. Leah Fiorentino, Executive Director of the NCEA.


About the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA)
The National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA), a non-profit corporation, was created as a governing body to advance the sport of Equestrian for women at the collegiate level. In 1998, Equestrian was identified and adopted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Committee of Women’s Athletics (CWA) as an emerging sport for women at the Division I and II levels. The NCEA, in concert with the mission and vision of the NCAA, is committed to providing collegiate opportunities for female equestrian student-athletes to compete at the highest level, while embracing equity, diversity and promoting academic and competitive excellence. For more information, please visit http://www.collegiateequestrian.com.

About Signature Academics
Things are different now. Today’s student-athletes don’t have to choose. They can be both top students and top athletes, with a little bit of help. That’s where Signature Academics comes in. Our goal is to support today’s student-athletes in their academic pursuits however, whenever, and wherever they need us. From Wellington and Ocala in the winter to locations far and wide during the rest of the year, Signature tutors are ready to work, both in person and virtually. Thanks to the Internet and technologies like Skype, any student can take her tutors with her when she travels. Similarly, today’s technology allows Signature Academics to bring together the absolute best educators in all subjects, regardless of geography. For more information, please visit http://www.signaturetutoring.com/

 

National Collegiate Equestrian Association Announces Kimes Ranch as New Corporate Sponsor

Posted: Jan 19, 2018 | Posted by Kassy Perry

National Advisory Board identifies new sponsor to raise awareness and support of collegiate equestrian programs

Waco, Texas (January 19, 2018) – The National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) today announced Kimes Ranch, an emerging leader in premium denim, as the newest corporate sponsor to support the advancement of Women’s Equestrian on the path to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championship Sport status.

“We are excited to welcome Kimes Ranch as a national sponsor for the NCEA,” said Tom O’Mara, Co-Chair of the NCEA National Advisory Board. “Their support and vision in advancing the opportunities for young women in our sport is greatly appreciated. In the past 50 years, most every women’s sport has eventually been given its due and recognized with Championship status as part of NCAA Athletics. Equestrian is currently designated as an NCAA Emerging Sport and with help from sponsors like Kimes Ranch we will soon have it added to the Championship Sport designation where all in the equestrian world would like it to be.”

Kimes Ranch is a family-owned and operated western apparel company. Established with the sport in mind, Kimes Ranch not only provides the equestrian community high-quality products, the brand dedicates itself to supporting the equestrian lifestyle and helping athletes pursue their passion.

“Collegiate athletics gives students a strong foundation for teamwork, compromise and commitment. Kimes Ranch’s partnership with the NCEA is a commitment to the betterment of young equestrian athletes, for the future of the equine industry,” said Lindsay Parraton, Director of Marketing of Kimes Ranch.

More than 800 women participate on NCEA teams across the nation. As that number continues to grow each year, strategic partnerships of this caliber will benefit current athletes and contribute to the future expansion of NCEA programs.

“Kimes Ranch’s Western Jean sponsorship of the NCEA is a great fit for both parties and represents further expansion of the corporate support for collegiate equestrian,” said Nancy Post, Associate Athletics Director for Business and Senior Woman Administrator at Baylor University.

The NCEA National Advisory Board continues its focus on raising awareness and building cohesive industry support of the relevance and value of women’s equestrian.

“The addition of Kimes Ranch as a new national sponsor is exciting. The opportunity for our teams to be affiliated with such an outstanding sponsor provides our student-athletes access to quality products. As a valued partner, Kimes Ranch will strengthen our core group of national sponsors,” said Dr. Leah Fiorentino, Executive Director of the NCEA.


About the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA)
The National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA), a non-profit corporation, was created as a governing body to advance the sport of Equestrian for women at the collegiate level. In 1998, Equestrian was identified and adopted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Committee of Women’s Athletics (CWA) as an emerging sport for women at the Division I and II levels. The NCEA, in concert with the mission and vision of the NCAA, is committed to providing collegiate opportunities for female equestrian student-athletes to compete at the highest level, while embracing equity, diversity and promoting academic and competitive excellence.

About Kimes Ranch
Founded in 2009, Kimes Ranch (formerly Longhorn Jean Company) was created to fill a void in the marketplace. With a long standing western history, Matt and Amanda Kimes’ desire was to create a company that produced great fitting, quality, long lasting jeans that walked the line between fashion-forward and western folk friendly. The brands catchy logo and even more attractive company culture and customer service have brought them a cult-like following amongst their western consumers. The classically inspired line of jeans, have been featured in magazines including American Cowboy, Horse & Rider, Cowboys and Indians and Chrome Magazine. Kimes Ranch. Superior Fit. Classic Style. Western Uncomplicated. For more information on Kimes Ranch or to order, visit www.kimesranch.com.

 

Lung Cancer Patients to Help Medical Community Understand the Side Effects of Immunotherapy Treatment

Posted: Jan 18, 2018 | Posted by Kassy Perry

Study designed to help doctors better understand and educate patients with non-small cell lung cancer on what to expect when undergoing immunotherapy treatment.PatientRegistry

SAN CARLOS, Calif. (January 18, 2018) — The Lung Cancer Registry sponsored by the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF), the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), is joining Adam Dicker, M.D., Ph.D. at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University and Heather Jim, Ph.D. at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Inc., in a study to learn about side effects of immunotherapy from patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have undergone therapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors. In addition, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) will join the collaboration as a project partner to maximize awareness of the registry and this research study to both researchers and patients.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors, a form of immunotherapy, have been shown to bring about durable remissions and prolonged survival for patients with NSCLC, but at the cost of toxicity that causes a range of side effects. The goal of this study is to gather information directly from patients and caregivers to better understand what side effects patients have experienced, when side effect symptoms began and how side effects have impacted the patients’ quality of life. Results from the study will give doctors a greater understanding of the how immune checkpoint inhibitor toxicities affect patients and allow them to better inform patients considering immunotherapy treatment for NSCLC.

“Nearly a quarter million Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year,” said Bonnie J. Addario, 14-year lung cancer survivor and founder of the ALCF. “Immunotherapy, along with targeted therapy, has helped transform the treatment of lung cancer over the past decade. Gathering information from patients and passing that knowledge on to other lung cancer patients accurately and quickly is helping patients live longer, which is our goal.”

The study represents the first collaborative effort since the ALCF and the Lung Association joined forces with the IASLC in December 2017 to expand the Lung Cancer Patient Registry. The registry allows patients to contribute information that improves understanding of lung cancer treatments and enables researchers to use that information to improve patient care and outcomes.

“We’re inspired by the opportunity to put the Lung Cancer Patient Registry to innovative use,” said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “The patient-provided data used in this new trial will allow us to gain knowledge from patients directly and better inform treatment.”

“Patient-reported outcomes (PRO’s) can help show clinical benefit in reducing disease related symptoms, provide more accurate estimates of toxicity, help model treatment costs and improve symptom management,” said Adam P. Dicker, M.D., PhD, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA . “These toxicities really do have costs, and it’s important for patients to know how much out-of-pocket costs they might incur.”

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S., accounting for one in four cancer deaths each year. The goal behind creating the registry is to speed and improve research by collecting information scientists can use in developing new treatments. In addition, the registry builds a bridge between patients and clinical trials’ researchers by enabling researchers to submit proposals to enter clinical trials into a database that patients can search.

“When all involved in lung cancer collaborate, patient outcomes improve,” said IASLC CEO Fred R. Hirsch, MD, PhD. “Information gathered in the study will be available to patients, their physicians, caregivers and to researchers evaluating the effectiveness of different treatment options.”

Patients with any form or stage of lung cancer, including patients with NSCLC who are interested in participating in the immunotherapy research study, can join the registry at www.lungcancerregistry.org. There, patients can opt-in to contribute their information, set their contact preferences and compare their experience with lung cancer with others. Patients can choose to receive information about research opportunities or other relevant news as part of their participation.


About the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation
The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) is one of the largest philanthropies (patient-founded, patient-focused, and patient-driven) devoted exclusively to eradicating lung cancer through research, early detection, education, and treatment. The foundation’s goal is to work with a diverse group of physicians, organizations, industry partners, individuals, patients, survivors, and their families to identify solutions and make timely and meaningful change and turn lung cancer into a chronically managed disease by 2023. The ALCF was established on March 1, 2006 as a 501c(3) nonprofit organization and has raised over $30 million for lung cancer research and related programs. The foundation has received four stars from Charity Navigator and has earned the platinum GuideStar nonprofit seal of transparency. Follow us on Twitter @thealcf.

About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.

About International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer
The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) is the only global organization dedicated to the study of lung cancer. Founded in 1974, the association’s membership includes more than 6,500 lung cancer specialists in over 100 countries. IASLC members work to enhance the understanding of lung cancer among scientists, members of the medical community and the public. IASLC publishes the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, a valuable resource for medical specialists and scientists who focus on the detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer. Visit www.iaslc.org for more information and follow us on Twitter @IASLC.

About the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer
The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) is the world’s leading member-driven organization specifically dedicated to improving cancer patient outcomes by advancing the science and application of cancer immunotherapy. Established in 1984, SITC, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, serves scientists, clinicians, academicians, patients, patient advocates, government representatives and industry leaders from around the world. Through in-person and online educational programs that provide state-of-the-art continuing education for the entire cancer care team; open access peer-reviewed guidelines, articles and other resources; interactive, audience-specific online communities; and by fostering collaboration between expert researchers and oncology practitioners, SITC aims to one day make the word “cure” a reality for cancer patients everywhere.

 

 

Coordinated Care Leader EHS Medical Group Announces Management Changes

Posted: Jan 17, 2018 | Posted by Kassy Perry

 Cindy Ehnes brings regulatory expertise to Interim CEO role; New independent board of directors to be elected and commit to smooth claims runout

Pasadena, CA – EHS Medical Group today announced the appointment of nationally-respected health care executive Cindy Ehnes as Interim Chief Executive Officer, and the planned election of a new independent board of directors to focus on the company’s commitment to credibility, compliance and change.

For more than 20 years, physician-owned and operated EHS Medical Group has been a trusted provider of quality medical services to more than 600,000 members in communities in Northern California, the Central Valley, Inland Empire, Los Angeles and San Diego counties. EHS is one of the largest medical groups in the state with 6,509 physicians in its network.

“The hallmark of my career has been ensuring patient access to quality health care and protecting the patient-doctor relationship,” said Ehnes. “My core principle of ‘putting patients first’ is embodied by the EHS physicians who provide quality care in their medical practices and go the extra mile treating homeless patients at their non-profit in downtown Los Angeles. That dedication comes from the core and that mission must not be lost.”

In addition to its physician group practice, EHS Medical Group founded and operates the Downtown Coordinated Care Center (DC3) in Los Angeles. The groundbreaking non-profit organization is dedicated to connecting patients, many of whom are homeless with mental illness, to no-cost, quality medical care. The Complex Care Center within DC3 treats the whole person providing mental health services, substance use disorder treatment and wellness education while treating complex medical conditions. The innovative care delivered through DC3 is designed to keep patients out of emergency rooms and avoid delays in care that can result in poor outcomes and skyrocketing costs.

“Ms. Ehnes is well-qualified to lead EHS at this critical time,” said Carl Moy, M.D., EHS Board Chair. “We understand that to regain credibility with the industry and regulators, we must also elect independent board leadership. We are committed to that, a robust compliance regimen and claims runout. We owe our Medi-Cal patients our best efforts to remain of service to them.”

Ehnes joins EHS Medical Group after decades of dedication to the delivery of quality, patient-centered health care. From 2004 to 2011, Ehnes served as Director of the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC), where she oversaw health insurance services for 21 million Californians served by the state’s managed health care industry, and levied millions of dollars in fines on California’s largest health plans for violations of law. Prior to her move to California in 2002, Ehnes was known in the Colorado Department of Insurance as a strict, but fair, enforcer of consumer protections. More recently, she successfully helped to turn around a troubled Texas health plan, protecting its members’ access to quality care while restoring financial stability.

Background on recent DMHC action

In December 2017, due to alleged wrongdoing by EHS’ administrative services vendor, SynerMed, the DMHC ordered health plans contracting with EHS to terminate their contracts with EHS.

On November 3, upon learning of SynerMed’s alleged activities impacting access to care for their members, EHS Medical Group terminated its contract with SynerMed and initiated both an investigation of its activities and implemented patient-centered reforms including centering medical review decision-making in physicians reporting exclusively to EHS’ physician Board of Directors.

Ehnes will work with the DMHC, the California Department of Health Care Services and all health plans contracting with EHS Medical Group to ensure compliance with state regulations governing transition of Medi-Cal patients, as well as ensure that EHS physicians are properly reimbursed for patient care during the transition period. One of her first actions as interim CEO is the recruitment of new board members and to facilitate the planned election of a fully independent board of directors overseeing EHS’ operations.

“Everyone falls sometimes,” Ehnes continues. “The measure of a company is in how it stands back up with integrity. EHS’ leadership in providing comprehensive coordinated care will be revitalized by new management committed to implementing best standards of transparent, accountable, and compliant managed care practices.”

ALCF, the American Lung Association and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer Collaborate to Find a Cure for the World’s Deadliest Cancer

Posted: Jan 16, 2018 | Posted by Kassy Perry

The newly expanded Lung Cancer Patient Registry provides additional tools for lung cancer patients and researchers

SAN CARLOS, Calif. (January 10, 2018) — The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) and the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE welcome the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) as a new member of the Lung Cancer Patient Registry, a place to gather and store detailed patient information, providing a real world view of patient outcomes and treatment effectiveness. Lung cancer patients enter information anonymously into the Registry. Registered patients, their families, health care providers and researchers can access that information.

“Nearly a quarter million Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year, and the Registry is the first of its kind, patient-driven resource where patients share their information about living with lung cancer to allow scientists and researchers the opportunity to learn from patients firsthand,” said Bonnie J. Addario, 14-year lung cancer survivor and founder of the ALCF.

The Registry includes the ability for registered researchers to query de-identified data in any combination of data elements using the research portal online search tool. Researchers interested in submitting proposals for placing clinical trials within the Registry may now submit a proposal.

“Anytime patients and doctors can collaborate more effectively, we improve the experience for both,” said Fred R. Hirsch, CEO of the IASLC. “As a global, multidisciplinary organization with a mission to conquer lung cancer, we look forward to the collaboration and the impact of the Lung Cancer Registry and are thrilled to join the partnership.”

This month, the Lung Cancer Registry will launch a study on the side effects of immunotherapy on non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients using data provided by patient participants. There is increasing awareness of the importance of collecting patient reported outcomes in oncology, especially long-term survivors whose toxicity is generally not reported in clinical trials. The findings will help educate other NSCLC patients and their families about side effects that are likely to occur and how they will affect the patients’ quality of life.

“Lung Cancer is a complex disease which requires a multi-pronged attack,” said Harold Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “Continuing our collaboration with the Bonnie J. Addario Foundation, and joining forces with the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer in support of the Lung Cancer Registry, will allow us to collectively have an even greater influence on lung cancer research and awareness.”

Patients with any form or stage of lung cancer can join the Registry at www.lungcancerregistry.org. Patients can opt-in to contribute their information, set their contact preferences and compare their lung cancer experience with others in The Registry. Patients can choose to receive information about research opportunities or other relevant news as part of their participation.


About the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation
The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) is one of the largest philanthropies (patient-founded, patient-focused, and patient-driven) devoted exclusively to eradicating Lung Cancer through research, early detection, education, and treatment. The Foundation’s goal is to work with a diverse group of physicians, organizations, industry partners, individuals, patients, survivors, and their families to identify solutions and make timely and meaningful change and turn lung cancer into a chronically managed disease by 2023. The ALCF was established on March 1, 2006 as a 501c(3) non-profit organization and has raised over $30 million for lung cancer research and related programs. Follow us on Twitter @thealcf.

About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.

About International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer
The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) is the only global organization dedicated to the study of lung cancer. Founded in 1974, the association’s membership includes more than 6,500 lung cancer specialists in over 100 countries. IASLC members work to enhance the understanding of lung cancer among scientists, members of the medical community and the public. IASLC publishes the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, a valuable resource for medical specialists and scientists who focus on the detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer. Visit www.iaslc.org for more information and follow us on Twitter @IASLC.

 

Finding Help With Expensive Medications

Posted: Dec 21, 2017 | Posted by Kassy Perry

by Jeffrey Lewis

If you or someone you love is one of the millions of Americans with a chronic disease or a life-threatening condition, pharmaceutical manufacturers and their partners offer you a gift of hope this holiday season.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers are criticized as Scrooge or the Grinch in our country’s health care system. Elected officials and advocacy organizations want to blame somebody for rising Rx costs, and the most obvious target is the Big Pharma.

But in this blame game, very little attention is given to the help the pharmaceutical industry and its partners quietly provide to patients in need through a variety of programs.

Such programs are often based on the patient’s household income, but not always. Patients with no health insurance coverage are often the first group considered eligible. Likewise, those with one or more chronic or life-threatening conditions are a high priority.

If you fall into one of these categories, check out the Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs) found on individual pharmaceutical company websites or through Partnership for Prescription Assistance (www.pparx.org), the website created by PhRMA, the trade association representing pharmaceutical manufacturers, linking patients to more than 475 different assistance programs.

On most of these websites, you can be connected with a customer support team member who can help determine if you are eligible and get you enrolled. You will be asked to verify that you are insured or uninsured and, in some cases, provide proof of income. You may need your physician to validate your condition. But once approved, access to medication is almost immediate.

(Note: Patients enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid may not be eligible.)

Pharmaceutical manufacturers also offer co-pay assistance, in which the patient is offered help with the cost of medication co-payments. Some co-pay assistance programs do not limit who is eligible. And, it is important to know that some co-pay assistance programs will not help people on Medicare. Each program sets its own rules.

People searching for an online provider should check out www.RxAssist.org. This site was developed by AstraZeneca, a pharmaceutical manufacturer, with the sole purpose of helping people access needed medications. It is one of the best sites available.

The California Chronic Care Coalition (CCCC) launched the website www.mypatientrights.com in California and is taking it nationwide to help people who have been denied treatment or medicines, experienced delays or are dissatisfied with the decisions made by their health plan. Today, this program is operating in 17 states. It helps patients get the care or treatment they need if denied, or if their plans don’t cover their meds and force them to pay full price. The program is available in 17 states—check the website to see if your state has a program.

This holiday season, if you need help with your medications, you are not alone. Go to the websites cited throughout this article. They can help connect you with low-cost and free alternatives. It is worth your time to explore these options. Feel free to e-mail me with your questions.

Jeffrey Lewis, CEO of Legacy Health Endowment in Turlock, can be reached at jeffrey@legacyhealthendowment.org. The views expressed are his own.

 

Perry Communications Group Looking to Expand Team

Posted: Dec 21, 2017 | Posted by Kassy Perry

Perry Communications Group (PCG), a full service strategic communications firm based in Sacramento, is now hiring for two positions: Account Manager and Senior Account Executive.

Applicants for the Account Manager position should have minimum five years of experience in public affairs/public relations or related field.  Experience in media relations, grassroots advocacy campaigns, legislative office or agency experience preferred.  Understanding/strong interest in California current events, editorial trends, politics, public policy and thrives in a fast-paced, high-energy environment. Essential duties and responsibilities may include:

  • Primary role in ensuring PCG executes programs, including grassroots advocacy, social and digital media and public affairs campaigns on time, within budget and beyond clients’ expectations.
  • Serves as day-to-day client contact to drive program implementation.
  • Manages account teams and operates independently to execute deliverables.
  • Tracks team utilization numbers and expenses and makes recommendations to senior managers to remedy any outliers.
  • Anticipates client needs and troubleshoot issues.
  • Maintains regular client contact to ensure client satisfaction with account activity and to proactively notify senior managers of any issues and solutions to resolve them.
  • Works with senior management to prepare client agreements.

Applicants for the Senior Account Executive position should have minimum three to five years of experience in public affairs initiatives, public relations or related field.  Experience in grassroots advocacy campaigns, legislative office, agency experience and media relations preferred.  Ideal candidate will have an understanding and strong interest in California current events, editorial trends, politics, public policy and the ability to thrive in a fast-paced, high-energy environment.  Essential duties and responsibilities may include:

  • Provides hands-on staff support and implementation of specific tactics on one or more accounts.
    • Write attention-grabbing outreach/education materials, client correspondence, reporting documents, newsletter content, ad copy and more.
    • Support advocacy efforts by fostering relationships with stakeholders including health care advocates, legislators and staff, and consumers.
    • Researches media coverage and legislative activity and provides key takeaways and implications to senior managers.
    • Supports team with outreach and communications that advance coalition building.
    • Develop presentations including event recaps, project summaries, PowerPoint presentations.
    • Develop social media content and manage clients’ accounts.
    • Coordinate meetings with state and federal legislators.
    • Coordinates certain logistics for media and advocacy events.
    • Serves as an agency contact with external vendors.
    • Works with senior management to prepare client reports.
    • Stays informed of each client’s industry, shares information with team.

To apply please send cover letter and resume to jobs@perrycom.com

 

Sacramento Insiders Wary of Single-Payer’s Chances

Posted: Dec 8, 2017 | Posted by Kassy Perry

Date: 12/7
Outlet: Voice of San Diego
Author: Kelly Davis

SB 562, the bill to enact single-payer health care in California, spurred intense national interest and debate earlier this year as it made its way through the Legislature, and provoked protests when it was shelved. But at Tuesday’s Southern California State of Reform Health Policy conference in San Diego, single-payer came off as more of a distraction than a viable policy.

Democratic strategists at one panel talked about how single-payer has become a political tool — a “litmus test” that will be used against state legislators in next year’s election. Kassy Perry, president of Sacramento public relations firm Perry Communications, noted that the California Nurses Association — single-payer’s biggest champion — plans to run someone against Northern California Assemblyman Jim Wood, who’s repeatedly questioned the bill’s high price tag. Wood sits on the Assembly’s Select Committee on Healthcare Delivery, which held a hearing on SB 562 in October, with a second hearing scheduled for Monday.

“It is a faith-based policy that is being used to help define what it means to be a Democrat,” said panelist David Panush, president of California Health Policy Strategies.

“We already have a Democratic-controlled Legislature,” Perry said. “If the nurses union is running candidates, you’re going to see an even farther swinging left.”

In another panel featuring Republican Assemblywoman Marie Waldron and Assemblyman Randy Voepel, both of whom represent parts of San Diego County, single-payer took a backseat to issues like opioid addiction and access to care; neither Waldron nor Voepel, who both sit on health care committees, condemned the bill, though Voepel, a fan of colorful analogies, compared single-payer to a burrito.

“On one end of the burrito, you have the doctor group, the benefits, the whole infrastructure of healthcare,” he said. “The other end is funding. You squeeze one end and the other pops out. How to squeeze the burrito — that’s what they’re dealing with in Sacramento.”

Voepel said single-payer could work — if it included the flexibility to purchase supplemental care and if funding existed.

Other topics the panels discussed:

  • Aetna/CVS merger: Earlier this week, health insurer Aetna announced a merger with CVS Health. On the Dem side, Jim Gross, a partner at Sacramento-based law firm Nielsen Merksamer, described the move as an “unmitigated disaster” for California that won’t result in cost-savings for consumers, while Voepel found Aetna’s plan to create “health hubs” at CVS pharmacies a promising model.
  • Opioid crisis: Both panels agreed that California’s well-positioned to tackle opioid addiction, though panelists pointed out that we haven’t seen the worst of it. “California is light years ahead,” Waldron said, “but there’s so much work to do.”
  • Health care costs: One way of bringing down costs, Waldron said, was to strengthen links between health care and social services. “We pay a lot more and our results are a lot less than a lot of other countries,” she said.

Read more from Voice of San Diego here.