American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Bulletin Advocacy Brief: February 24

State Affairs

Only Eight States Have Lowered Screening Age for Colorectal Cancer – You Can Help Advocate for Necessary Change

One of the 2022 state policy priorities for the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Commission on Cancer is to expand insurance coverage for colorectal cancer screenings by lowering the screening age from 50 years to 45 years old. Cases of colorectal cancer among persons 20 to 49 years old have been on the rise since the mid-1990s, and the disease is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the US. In 2018, the American Cancer Society updated its screening guidelines for colorectal cancer from age 50 years to 45 years old. So far, only eight states – Arkansas, California, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Rhode Island, and Texas – have passed legislation requiring insurance carriers to cover colorectal screenings at age 45.

As of this week, more than 15 bills have been introduced across the country related to colorectal cancer in states including Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi (three bills), Nebraska, New Jersey, New York (five bills), and Pennsylvania (two bills). The ACS State Affairs team can help with letters, testimony, and grassroots support for Fellows and ACS state chapters to engage on these bills.

For more information on specific legislation or to engage in state advocacy, contact Christopher Johnson, Manager, ACS State Affairs, at cjohnson@facs.org or Rebecca King, ACS State Affairs Associate, at rebeccaking@facs.org.

View the full list of cancer bills being tracked by the ACS:

Cancer State Legislation 2022

On the Hill

Congress Passes ACS-Supported Legislation on Healthcare Professional Mental Health

On February 17, the Senate passed the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, H.R. 1667. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation seeks to reduce and prevent mental and behavioral health conditions, suicide, and burnout among health care professionals. Additionally, it aims to increase access to evidence-based treatment for physicians, medical students, and other health care professionals, especially those who continue to be overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The legislation, which passed the House last year, is expected to be signed by President Biden. The ACS supported this legislation and is thankful for the leadership of Congress in prioritizing health care professional mental health and well-being.

For more information, contact Carrie Zlatos, ACS Senior Health Policy Advisor, at czlatos@facs.org.

US Senate Confirms FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf

The US Senate on February 15 confirmed cardiologist Robert Califf, MD, to be the Commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by a vote of 50-46. The FDA had been without a confirmed leader since President Biden took office, with acting commissioner Janet Woodcock, MD, serving at the helm of the agency. Dr. Woodcock will remain at the FDA as principal deputy commissioner.

Dr. Califf has committed to improving the agency’s accelerated approval pathway and launching a comprehensive review of opioid painkillers. The agency also is working to issue new tobacco and e-cigarette regulations. Dr. Califf previously served as FDA Commissioner in the Obama Administration.

For more information, contact Amelia Suermann, ACS Senior Congressional Lobbyist, at asuermann@facs.org.