UCSF

TRANSPERS July 2021 Newsletter: New Deputy Director | TRANSPERS Study Top Citation in Genetics in Medicine | Aducanumab Controversy

Letter from Center Director

Dear Colleagues,

We are thrilled to welcome Patricia Deverka, MD, as our new deputy director. Pat has been a longtime TRANSPERS collaborator, and her expertise in health economics and precision medicine will be invaluable in raising our impact to the next level. Please read more about Pat’s background and accomplishments in the next section.

This issue also highlights several milestones and team achievements, testifying to the growing influence of our work. We added an “In the News” section at the end, featuring memorable quotes by our faculty in the media.

As always, I welcome your engagement.

Kathryn A. Phillips, PhD


Highlights

Patricia Deverka, MD, Joins TRANSPERS as Deputy Director and Senior Researcher

A longtime TRANSPERS collaborator, Patricia Deverka, MD, has recently joined the TRANSPERS team as our new deputy director and senior researcher. Pat comes to us with extensive experience in studying the factors affecting the clinical integration of new genomic technologies. Pat is the Executive Director at Deverka Consulting, LLC where she focuses on helping biotechnology companies and start-ups develop evidence to support payer coverage and clinical adoption of innovative technologies. Previously, she was the Director of Value Evidence and Outcomes at Geisinger National and spent nearly 15 years in the pharmaceutical and pharmacy benefit management industries leading departments of outcomes research and was a thought leader in approaches for demonstrating product value. 

TRANSPERS Publication on Perspectives of US Payers Among Top 15 Articles Cited Last Year in Genetics in Medicine

A TRANSPERS study examining the perspectives of US private payers on insurance coverage for pediatric and prenatal exome sequencing was ranked #12 out of the top 15 citations for 2020 in the journal Genetics in Medicine. The study led by Julia Trosman, PhD, in a collaboration with the UCSF Program in Prenatal and Pediatric Genomic Sequencing, was the first to show how payers’ views on insurance coverage of exome sequencing are expanding and aligning with the views of patients and other stakeholders.

Jeroen Jansen and Kathryn Phillips Identified as Top Cited Scientists in their Fields

An analysis by John Ioannidis et al. assessing scientists for citation impact found that publications by TRANSPERS scientists Jeroen Jansen, PhD, and Kathryn A. Phillips, PhD, were in the top 2% of citations in Health Policy and Services. Jansen and Phillips also ranked in the top 2% among researchers across all fields of science.

Laboratory Business Models and Practices Impact Access to Germline Testing

Maren Scheuner, MD, MPH, led a TRANSPERS study investigating the impact of laboratory business models and practices on availability and access to germline genetic testing. Published in Genetics in Medicine, the study includes a conceptual model to serve as the basis for stakeholder discussions, future research agendas, and policy decisions. “We are on the threshold of a disruption in the germline testing marketplace,” the authors concluded.

Influence of Payer Coverage and Out-of-Pocket Costs on Ordering of Hereditary Cancer Panels

A TRANSPERS study, led by Grace Lin, MD examined the influence of payer coverage and out-of-pocket costs on ordering panel tests for hereditary cancer in diverse settings. Published in Journal of Genetic Counseling, the study found safety-net clinics reported few barriers to testing related to cost, largely due to laboratory assistance with prior authorization requests and patient payment assistance programs that result in little to no patient out-of-pocket expenses. However, the authors concluded, “access to genetic counseling is a barrier and must be addressed to ensure equity in testing.”

Additional Publications

How Do We Implement Precision Medicine Technologies Effectively, Efficiently, And Equitably?

Kathryn A. Phillips, PhD, addressed new tests for early disease detection and raises provocative questions about equitable access to precision medicine.

DNA-Based Screening and Personal Health: Points to Consider

Maren Scheuner, MD, MPH, co-authored an American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics statement to guide individuals and healthcare providers who are considering undertaking DNA-based health screening.


Funding News

Jeroen Jansen, PhD, a TRANSPERS Faculty member, received a $50,000 UCSF Resource Allocation Program grant to study health equity impact in Health Technology Assessments. The study will 1) assess how a formal health equity impact analysis can be conducted for a new health technology—including assessing evidence needs, data availability, and analytical approach along with required assumptions—through a cancer case study; and 2) develop a generalizable blueprint outlining how available evidence can be used to perform model-based health equity impact analyses of new health technologies.

Presentations

Kathryn A. Phillips, PhD: “Next Generation Sequencing in Clinical Practice: Current Status and Future Directions”
Genomics & Precision Health at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Thursday, February 18, 2021

Grace Lin, MD: “Impact of Payer Coverage and Out-of-Pocket Costs of Hereditary Cancer Panel Testing: Implications for Safety-Net and Academic Medical Centers, and the Latinx Community.” UCSF Breast Oncology Program, March 24, 2021

Kathryn A. Phillips, PhD: “Addressing Reimbursement and Economic Challenges for Genomic Medicine: Current Status and Future Directions”
Center for Applied Genomics & Precision Medicine Forum at Duke University, Thursday, March 25, 2021

Michael Douglas, MS: “Economic, Financial, and Policy Implications of Genetic Testing for Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD).”
UCSF Dementia Day, May 18, 2021

Jeroen Jansen, PhD: “Disease Modifying Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease Are on The Horizon! How Can We Use Health Economic Models to Explore the Health Equity Impact and Cost-Effectiveness of Biomarkers for Early Detection?”
UCSF Dementia Day, May 18, 2021

Kathryn A. Phillips, PhD, and Patricia Deverka, MD: “Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Tests – “Liquid Biopsy Tests” – Are Here – But Will Payers Provide Insurance Coverage?”
PHIND Seminar Series, Stanford University, May 18, 2021

Kathryn Phillips, PhD, and the Global Economics and Evaluation of Clinical Genomics Sequencing (GEECS) Working Group: “Implementation of exome and genome sequencing: Who has access, who pays, and what are solutions for implementation challenges?”
European Conference on the Diffusion of Genomic Medicine: Health Economics & Policy, May 26, 2021

Christine Weldon, MBA: “Multi-cancer hereditary syndrome testing: Genetic Counselors’ Perspectives”
American Society of Clinical Oncology, June 4, 2021

Kathryn A. Phillips, PhD: “Developing Effective Payment and Reimbursement Models”
Precision Medicine: Moving Theory into Practice at USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics, Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Kathryn A. Phillips, PhD: Respondent to “Definitions of Race in the Context of Health and Medicine”
Understanding Ontologies in Context at National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Upcoming

Kathryn A. Phillips, PhD: “Building the Evidence Base for Appropriate and Efficient Implementation of Emerging Genomic Tests for Disease Management and Screening,”

Advances in Genome Biology and Technology Meeting, September 9-11, 2021


Collaborator & Partner News

TRANSPERS Experts Weigh in on Aducanumab Controversy

 

Grace Lin, MD led the recent Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) analysis of the effectiveness and value of aducanumab for Alzheimer’s Disease, which concluded that the evidence is insufficient to demonstrate a net health benefit for patients. The report will be discussed at a virtual public meeting of the California Technology Assessment Forum (CTAF) on July 15, 2021. Kathryn A. Phillips, PhD, serves on the board of CTAF, which is a nationally-recognized independent appraisal committee and an ICER Program.

Open Positions

Announcement of Postdoctoral Scholar Position: Health Preferences Research, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary

The postdoctoral scholar will contribute to TRANSPERS SAB member Dr. Deborah Marshall’s nationally and internationally funded program of research on stated preference health economics research

In the News

"Once you cover something, it's very difficult to rescind coverage."

TRANSPERS researcher Julia Trosman, PhD, in an interview in Precision Oncology News on unpredictable payer coverage for broad cancer tissue next-generation sequencing panels.

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