The PACT Act passed!
On December 20, 2019, the President signed the Patient Access to Cellular Therapy (PACT) Act into law. This means that Medicare-eligible patients needing a blood or marrow transplant now have equal access to this treatment. For the past several years, researchers and healthcare professionals throughout the world have worked hard to find innovative treatments to allow patients fighting a blood cancer or other blood disorder a way to receive a bone marrow, peripheral blood stem cell or cord blood transplant; which in many cases, is the only chance for a cure.
With the PACT Act now law, our Government Affairs and Health Policy Teams will spend 2020 working with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to update Medicare reimbursement payment policy for bone marrow, peripheral blood stem cell and cord blood transplants.
The Commitment: With the establishment of a national bone marrow registry in the mid-1980’s, Congress promised patients with blood cancers, like leukemia and lymphoma, and other life-threatening diseases that they would have a way to find a life-saving donor match.
Today, this national registry (known as the Be The Match® Registry) serves as the single point of access for patients to matched adult volunteer donors, as well as cord blood units.
Physicians rely upon these cells to perform adult stem cell transplants that can cure more than 70 otherwise fatal, diseases or conditions, including blood cancers and sickle cell disease.
The PACT Act: The PACT Act S.1286/H.R. 2498 ensures that providers of services receive adequate payments for the acquisition of bone marrow and cord blood cells under the Medicare program. Medicare already reimburses hospitals for the acquisition costs of procuring solid organs – including kidneys from living donors – using standard acquisition charges that reflect hospitals’ average acquisition cost associated with each organ. Health and Humans Services (HHS) implemented this policy to avoid acquisition costs becoming a barrier to transplant. The PACT Act adopts this policy for bone marrow and cord blood.
The 2020 Plan: When we talk about the PACT Act, we're talking about saving more lives. Approximately 1,200 Medicare patients a year need a bone marrow, peripheral blood stem cell or cord blood transplant.
The Pact Act will:
- Improve reimbursement to help cover the cost of transplant
- Increase access to bone marrow and cord blood transplants
- Align bone marrow transplants with solid organ transplants
This bill protects access to cellular therapy for our patients. Our work with CMS to properly implement these reimbursement rates will do an incredible amount to help more people beat blood cancers and diseases and live longer, better lives.