New NCCN Employer Toolkit Enables Organizations to Help Workers with Cancer

National Comprehensive Cancer Network

PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) announced the publication of a new resource to help employers make the best decisions possible when it comes to cancer care for their employees.

In 2019, more than 16.9 million people in the United States were living with or were previously treated for cancer, with that number projected to surpass 22 million by 2030. More than a third are diagnosed with cancer before age 65[1]. Employers are increasingly responsible for making health plan choices, providing resources, and otherwise supporting their staff and reducing workplace burdens during and after cancer treatment. That’s why NCCN convened a group of employers and benefits managers from across the country to develop the new NCCN Employer Toolkit, available for free at

“The growing incidence and prevalence of cancer in the U.S. has led to increasing costs and challenges for employers,” explained Karen L. van Caulil, PhD, President and CEO, Florida Alliance for Healthcare Value, a member of the NCCN Employer Advisory Board “The new NCCN Employer Toolkit provides a full spectrum of evidence-based guidelines to help employers identify and secure the highest quality cancer care for their plan members and families, in a concise and user-friendly format. The toolkit includes specific strategies for making coverage decisions, identifying quality measures, and offering ongoing care navigation.”

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“Cancer is a complicated and physically demanding diagnosis that places enormous stresses and burdens on the patient and their family, as well as on employers and payers of healthcare,” added Advisory Board Consultant Warren Smedley, DSc (candidate), MSHA, MSHQS, Vice President, The Kinetix Group. “The NCCN Employer Advisory Board worked tirelessly to establish these guiding principles, which prioritize strategies and tactics to support the highest quality of care, along with the most responsible use of resources, for those who are impacted by a cancer diagnosis. We are so grateful to have had the enthusiastic support of so many of the leading employer and business advocacy organizations on this project.”

The NCCN Employer Toolkit is based on the following six guiding principles:

  1. Strive to deliver the highest quality, highest value care to plan members and their families.
  2. Emphasize patient-centered care, designed to meet, and exceed, the expectations of plan members.
  3. Promote the most appropriate, value-based use of healthcare resources.
  4. Encourage the selection of care providers with proven, high quality care capability.
  5. Endeavor to minimize the complexities and barriers to accessing high quality care.
  6. Empower plan members to become more engaged in improving their health.
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For each principle, the NCCN Employer Toolkit includes several corresponding strategies and tactics, complete with links to resources, in order to eliminate uncertainty while choosing a health plan that will deliver high quality cancer care. These tips include specific information about what a health plan should include (for instance, coverage of evidence-based genetic testing), along with specific techniques for holding plan providers accountable (such as requiring carriers to define how they handle documented poor performance). Other topics include clinical trial enrollment, cost control, end-of-life care, and mental health support.

The toolkit also includes a glossary to define medical terms and clarify potentially confusing jargon, including an explanation of the difference between genetic and genomic testing, and why both are important. It concludes with a list of peer-reviewed references.

“NCCN is already known for creating and maintaining gold standard guidelines that enable health care professionals everywhere to stay current on the very latest evidence and expert consensus in cancer care,” said Robert W. Carlson, MD, CEO, NCCN. “This toolkit will help us further advance our mission of ensuring access to high-quality, affordable cancer care. We’re providing it to employers so they can make the best possible healthcare plan decisions for themselves and their colleagues—ensuring everyone can get the right care at the right time.”

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The NCCN Employer Advisory Board includes the following experts:

  • Don Betts: Employer Health Alliance of Georgia
  • Ken Braun: Employers Health
  • Wayne N Burton, MD: Retired, American Express
  • Dee Edington, PhD: Edington Associates
  • Chris Goff, JD: Employers Health
  • Emma Hoo: Pacific Business Group on Health
  • Cheryl Larson: Midwest Business Group on Health
  • Angie Patterson: Georgia CORE
  • Bruce Sherman, MD: National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions
  • Candice Sherman: Northeast Business Group on Health
  • Karen van Caulil, PhD: Florida Alliance for Healthcare Value
  • Lynn Zonakis: The Zonakis Group

The NCCN Employer Toolkit is available free online at and will be continuously updated to reflect any changing trends in health care policy.

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