New Comments to Congress Call for Strengthening Oncology Workforce

March 21, 2023

To better understand the drivers of health care workforce shortages, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee issued a Request for Information (RFI) to gain insight from stakeholders as well as explore strategies to address health care workforce shortages. The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recently submitted a response to this RFI, focusing on current oncology workforce demographics, drivers of oncology shortages across the care team, lack of workforce diversity, and the distribution of oncology professionals across rural America.

The request came after the Committee held a hearing on the current health care workforce landscape and solutions to address shortages at the community level. In addition to the hearing, Ranking Member Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA), indicated he was actively drafting legislation to address the shortages and maintain the vitality of the workforce pipeline.

Data about the oncology workforce landscape was provided through ASCO’s 2022 Snapshot of State of the Oncology Workforce in America among other sources, and information about physician burnout and administrative burden were outlined through member survey data. The comments also outlined ASCO’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) priorities to increase representation and diversity in the oncology workforce through various programs. Insights and solutions to workforce shortages in rural geographic areas were outlined through ASCO’s work to increase access to cancer care in rural Montana.

ASCO proposed solutions to address workforce shortages, including:

  • Advancing legislation that would address administrative burdens and physician burnout;
  • Utilizing community-based solutions to address rural workforce needs;
  • Continuing investment in provider resiliency programs created under the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act;
  • Supporting underrepresented populations to join the oncology workforce.

Read the full comment letter.

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