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S. 717 (111th): 21st Century Cancer ALERT (Access to Life-Saving Early detection, Research and Treatment) Act

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

3/26/2009--Introduced. 21st Century Cancer ALERT (Access to Life-Saving Early detection, Research and Treatment) Act - Amends the Public Health Service Act to revise provisions related to the National Cancer Program, including to require the establishment of an entity within the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to augment ongoing efforts to advance new technologies in cancer research, support the national collection of tissues for cancer research purposes, and ensure the quality of tissue collection.

Sets forth provisions governing clinical trials, including ethical and privacy standards.

Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants for research on cancers with a low five-year survival rate and rare cancers.

Expands coverage of colorectal screenings, including through providing grants and allowing states to provide coverage for such screenings under Medicaid.

Provides for biomarkers research.

Amends the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to prohibit a group health plan from discriminating against participants and beneficiaries participating in cancer clinical trials.

Sets forth provisions regarding retirement pay for nurses retiring from the Armed Forces.

Requires the Secretary to study the current and future cancer care workforce needs.

Prohibits the Secretary from awarding patient navigator grants unless entities provide assurances that patient navigators meet minimum core proficiencies.

Provides for coverage under Medicare for payment of routine costs of care furnished to individuals participating in cancer clinical trials.

Requires the Secretary to conduct a demonstration project under which payment for comprehensive cancer care planning services will be made under Medicare.

Provides for coverage of tobacco cessation products.

Provides for research on cancer survivorship related to childhood cancer and health disparities in outcomes.

Requires the Secretary to convene a Workforce Development Collaborative on Psychosocial Care During Chronic Medical Illness.