ASPS Secures passage of the BREAST CANCER PATIENT EDUCATION ACT

“This is a proud day for ASPS and all of our members who advocated on behalf of this important legislation.  Most importantly, it’s a victory for our patients, on whose behalf we continuously advocate.  ASPS has been working on the BCPEA for four years, and we are honored to have championed this much needed legislation that will inform patients about their federally mandated right to breast reconstruction.”
David Song, MD, MBA
ASPS President

After four years of persistent advocacy, one of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ top priority bills, the Breast Cancer Patient Education Act (BCEPA), was passed by Congress on December 18 through the FY2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill and is expected to be signed by President Obama.  In 2015, ASPS made its strongest push ever for passage of this important bi-partisan bill, with more congressional meetings, greater coalition support, first-time industry support and an advanced membership grassroots campaign.  This increased advocacy placed unprecedented pressure on Congress to provide meaningful education about breast reconstruction for patients facing a breast cancer diagnosis.   

About breast cancer patient Education act

According to the American Cancer Society, over 230,000 women will be diagnosed with new cases of invasive breast cancer in the United States in 2015.  The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 requires health plans that offer breast cancer coverage to also provide for breast reconstruction and prostheses.  Yet less than half of all women requiring a mastectomy are currently offered breast reconstruction surgery.  In fact, one in five women who do not undergo breast reconstruction reported a lack of knowledge about the procedure.  

The Breast Cancer Patient Education Act requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to plan and implement an education campaign to inform breast cancer patients about the availability and coverage of breast reconstruction and other available alternatives post-mastectomy.  Educational materials created by the Secretary of Health and Human Services will inform women of their right to breast reconstruction under federal law and provide women with information about when breast reconstruction or prostheses may be appropriate within their recovery plan.  This campaign will support existing collateral on breast cancer awareness that is already created by the Office of Women’s Health and the Office of Minority Health.