Laura Morgan

Authored Items

IOM’s Call to Action on End-of-Life Care in the United States

October 2014, Vol 5 , No 8 - End-of-Life Care

The initiative to improve end-of-life care in the United States is taking center stage, and it is about time. The US population is aging, and the number of older Americans with comorbidities is growing. In addition, the US population is becoming more culturally diverse, so there is an increased need for more responsive, patient-centered care. Furthermore, the current healthcare system is disjointed, and contains elements that obstruct the delivery of high-quality end-of-life care, according to a new report. [ Read More ]

Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate Repeal Met with Relief

May 2015, Vol 6, No 4 - Economics of Cancer Care

The April 14, 2015, repeal of the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula for physician payments under Medicare is being welcomed by the healthcare community, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). The 392 to 37 vote to pass H.R. 2, called the Medicare Access and Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015, came just in time to avoid the 21% cut in Medicare fees that would have come into effect after the most recent SGR patch expired on March 31, 2015. [ Read More ]

Real-World Treatment Patterns of Axitinib for Advanced Renal-Cell Carcinoma

May 2015, Vol 6, No 4 - Economics of Cancer Care

San Diego, CA—Approved in 2012 by the FDA, axitinib (Inlyta) is indicated for the treatment of patients with advanced renal-cell carcinoma (RCC) whose disease had failed 1 previous systemic therapy. The approval of axitinib was based on the safety and efficacy data from clinical trials, which are often limited in their patient population and short-term analysis. [ Read More ]

Early Initiation of Palliative Care Improves Survival in Patients with Advanced Cancer

June 2015, Vol 6, No 5 - Palliative Care

Palliative care offers symptom relief, comfort, and peaceful death to patients with advanced cancer. Historically, palliative care was provided to patients who were near death. Based on recent research, however, the American Society of Clinical Oncology now recommends combining palliative care with curative treatment early in the disease course. Nevertheless, an important question remains: How early in the disease trajectory should patients with advanced cancer begin receiving palliative care? [ Read More ]

Increasing Use of Value Analysis Committees in US Hospitals: Implications for Healthcare Providers and Manufacturers

June 2015, Vol 6, No 5 - Economics of Cancer Care

Philadelphia, PA—The growing focus on identifying and preventing overpayments and reducing waste in the healthcare system has prompted hospitals to adopt value analysis committees to curb unnecessary medical supply spending. In 2012, as many as 64% of US hospitals were using a value analysis committee to evaluate new devices and new supplies used in their institutions. [ Read More ]

The New PC-SAF Instrument: A Patient-Reported Outcome Tool for Identifying the Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

June 2015, Vol 6, No 5 - Economics of Cancer Care

Philadelphia, PA—The prognosis for patients with pancreatic cancer, the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, remains poor. The diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is often delayed to a late stage, which affects impact. Improving the understanding of the early signs and symptoms of this cancer may improve outcomes. [ Read More ]

ASCO Develops New Framework to Evaluate the Value of Cancer Therapies

July 2015, Vol 6, No 6 - ASCO’s Value Framework

Cancer care is one of the fastest growing components of US healthcare costs and is estimated to reach $158 billion by 2020. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Value in Cancer Care Task Force attributes the rising cost of cancer care to several factors, including the overall aging of the population, the introduction of costly new drugs and innovative surgery and radiation techniques, and the adoption of more expensive diagnostic tests. [ Read More ]

Medical and Psychosocial Impact of Oral Therapy on Patients with Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer

September 2015, Vol 6, No 8 - Prostate Cancer

San Diego, CA—The introduction of 2 therapies for the treatment of patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC)—the orally administered abiraterone acetate (Zytiga) and enzalutamide (Xtandi)—has prompt­­ed Leslie Hazel-Fernandez, PhD, Comprehensive Health Insights, Louisville, KY, and colleagues to conduct a qualitative study to evaluate the personal and other factors that influence the use of oral drugs among patients with mCRPC, as well as to gauge caregivers’ and physicians’ experiences with patients who use these oral medications. The results of this study were presented at the 2015 Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy annual meeting. [ Read More ]

Patients with Cancer Eager to Discuss Costs of Care with Their Oncologists

September 2015, Vol 6, No 8 - Economics of Cancer Care

Gone are the days when patients with cancer were, for the most part, protected from healthcare costs by their medical insurance. According to a recent study sponsored by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and conducted by Ronan J. Kelly, MD, MBA, MBBCh, Assistant Professor of Oncology, Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baltimore, and colleagues, with high deductibles, escalating copayments, and cost-sharing requirements becoming the status quo, patients with cancer are now, more than ever, feeling the effects of financial toxicity, particularly young patients who are especially susceptible to filing for medical bankruptcy (Kelly RJ, et al. J Oncol Pract. 2015;11:308-312). [ Read More ]

Defitelio (Defibrotide Sodium): First Drug Approved for Patients with Hepatic Veno-Occlusive Disease

July 2016, Vol 7, No 6 - Drug Updates

Hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD), also known as sinusoidal obstruction syndrome, is a rare and life-threatening liver condition that is characterized by rapid weight gain, ascites, painful hepatomegaly, and jaundice. It is often observed in patients after allogeneic or autologous hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT), and has also been reported during the treatment of Wilms tumor, rhabdomyosarcoma associated with actinomycin D, and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. [ Read More ]

NCI’s Acting Director: Data-Sharing, Immunotherapy, and the Cancer Moonshot Initiative

September 2016, Vol 7, No 8 - Cancer Moonshot

The national Cancer Moonshot initiative, led by Vice President Joe Biden, was established to accelerate the progress in cancer outcomes, including prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. First introduced in January 2016, the initiative is focused on moving cancer research forward in a meaningful way by encouraging greater cooperation between cancer research institutions and increasing data-sharing for that purpose, said Douglas R. Lowy, MD, Acting Director, National Cancer Institute (NCI), at the 2016 American Association of Physicists in Medicine annual meeting in Washington, DC. [ Read More ]