Thank you all for joining Governor John Bel Edwards and Secretary Rebekah Gee on Friday, May 11th to support Louisiana’s new statewide initiative to improve cancer outcomes in Louisiana.  The following summarizes major points of the Summit and anticipated next steps.

Meeting Summary

  • Louisiana has the fourth highest cancer mortality rate in the nation, with over 175 people dying of the disease each week and persistent and large disparities across races and other sociodemographic factors. These are addressable, preventable issues that can be overcome through a concerted effort.
  • Louisiana’s approach to reducing cancer mortality and disparities will be informed by successful models that exist in Louisiana and around the country. Dr. Charles Rogers of University of Minnesota profiled efforts in his state and elsewhere to reduce colorectal cancer racial disparities through public education and engagement, targeting campaigns to specific populations, such as African American men, who face the greatest risk. Dr. Douglas Blayney of Stanford University described initiatives in Michigan to establish and promote adherence to breast cancer treatment guidelines.
  • With initial support provided by the United Health Foundation, a comprehensive strategy has been defined to address cancer in the state, including:
    • The formation of the Taking Aim at Cancer in Louisiana (TACL) initiative to improve cancer outcomes by expanding residents’ access to cancer prevention, screening and standard of care treatment; and,
    • The launch of a unified statewide National Cancer Institute’s Community Oncology Research Program (N-CORP) to expand access to clinical trials to more than 50% of cancer patients in the state.
  • There is currently a Leadership Committee for the Taking Aim at Cancer in Louisiana (TACL) initiative and an Executive Committee will also be formed with the following representation across sectors: Payers (4), Providers (4), Business, Advocacy, Community (4), and State (1).
  • The Executive Committee of TACL will be supported in decision-making and policy recommendations by Clinical, Data, and Community Engagement Committees. Strategic efforts will first focus on two targeted interventions:
    • A statewide colorectal cancer screening campaign that will layer on screenings for additional cancers (e.g., breast, skin, lung, prostate, head and neck) as communities can meet the treatment demands that are expected to arise from the expanded screening; and,
    • A breast cancer treatment intervention focused on expanding adherence to agreed upon TACL guidelines across the state with payers incenting the utilization of them.

The Taking Aim at Cancer in Louisiana (TACL) initiative will only succeed if there is broad commitment and sustained engagement from payers, providers, advocates, policy makers and other members of the community.  This is a long-term, multi-year effort that will succeed if we work together towards a common goal of improving cancer outcomes in Louisiana.

  • Breakout groups identified a number of critical recommendations related to launching these interventions. These are summarized below and shared more in-depth on a separate Breakout Group Summary document:
    • Focusing on reducing disparities in prevention, screening and treatment for some groups of Louisianans;
    • Simplifying and aligning payment mechanisms across payers for screening, diagnostic and treatment services;
    • Addressing factors that may limit patients’ ability to access care, including availability of services in rural areas, expanding transportation services and expanding office hours to accommodate working patients’ schedules;
    • Offering creative financing solution for working poor, particularly those between 139-250% of poverty level, who are in need to screening and treatment and face prohibitive cost-sharing;
    • Offering patient navigation services and expanding provider networks that will serve Medicaid and uninsured patients;
    • Broadening use of tumor boards to establish consistent care practices;
    • Expanding culturally sensitive public health messaging across Louisiana and engaging trusted members of the community to communicate with and engage target populations; and,
    • Education of providers on best practice care and cancer resources available to them.

Next Steps

  • The Louisiana Department of Health will reach out to Summit participants to help establish the Taking Aim at Cancer in Louisiana (TACL) initiative, its committees and its first set of initiatives.  For anyone who did not note their interest on the Kick-off Event Exit Survey, but would like to be engaged, please sign up for a committee at this link. Initial recommendations gathered from the exit survey and online sign up form will be posted to the website in the coming weeks.
  • We will form and launch the Taking Aim at Cancer committees over the next month.
  • We will initiate recruitment for the Taking Aim at Cancer Program Manager position. Please see the job description here and let us know if you have candidates to recommend.
  • The N-CORP team is completing its renewal for submission in early Fall 2018.