In the opening keynote, Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), a champion for cancer survivors and a survivor herself, shared her personal cancer experience and discussed her previous legislative successes that have directly impacted cancer survivors. She asserted, “confronting cancer head-on with an all-hands-on-deck approach is a personal and professional mission for me.”
She also revealed exciting news about her forthcoming legislation that will directly benefit cancer survivors. Her comprehensive survivorship legislation, the Comprehensive Cancer Survivorship Act, has already garnered bipartisan support and will be introduced by the end of the year.
“Survivorship,” she said, “like our health system, can no longer be viewed as one-dimensional,” emphasizing the need for a comprehensive approach to helping survivors. Thus, her legislation will address the entire continuum of care to close many of the gaps patients face so that they may no longer feel like they are “lost in transition.” Specifically, it will provide coverage for care planning services to address transition to primary care, develop comprehensive navigation services, establish workforce assistance grants, provide education and awareness through survivorship resources, and require study of the existing reimbursement landscape and development of an alternative payment model, among many other things.
In closing, Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz acknowledged the challenging work that lies ahead to pass this legislation and called on all members of the cancer community to lend their voices to this collective effort to improve the quality of life and quality of care for cancer survivors.