The US Oncology Network Launches Innovative Program to Help Oncologists Prepare for Value-Based Alternative Payment Models

Published: Friday, Feb 26, 2016

The US Oncology Network, supported by McKesson Specialty Health, has launched an innovative program designed to help community-based oncologists around the country successfully prepare for implementation of the new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Oncology Care Model (OCM) and other alternative payment models. The US Oncology Network OCM program will test and refine key processes needed to meet the OCM requirements, empowering oncologists to successfully and efficiently transition to new value and team-based care models.

“Our objective is to refine support tools to help oncologists deliver high-quality care and navigate through an ever-changing healthcare landscape,” said Marcus Neubauer, M.D., medical director of Oncology Services for The US Oncology Network and McKesson Specialty Health. “The Network has substantial experience with alternative payment models, and we are building on our expertise, resources and collective knowledge to test the best ways to be successful in the OCM. Many practices across the country are interested in participating in the OCM or other alternative payment models and are looking forward to utilizing our program to perform in this new environment.”

The CMS payment and care delivery model aims to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of cancer care by aligning financial incentives and performance accountability for episodes of care involving chemotherapy administration. This model will invest in physician-led practices, allowing the practices to innovate and deliver higher-quality care to their patients. The goal is to provide high-quality, better coordinated care at a lower cost. The Network OCM program is designed to seamlessly incorporate key processes into the normal workflow wherever possible so additional staff time, expense and workflow disruptions can be minimized. Several key activities are currently under way that will provide the foundation for the program, including:
  • Enhancing technology solutions to meet OCM requirements;
  • Determining how to integrate patient navigation tasks into practice workflow as required by the OCM;
  • Expanding on analytics capability to support continuous improvements;
  • Building tools that make it easier for physicians to participate with no extra clicks or burdens; and
  • Introducing Care Paths, an innovative way to provide high value across the continuum of care. Care Paths are an extension of Value Pathways powered by NCCN™ (formerly Level I Pathways, which was introduced a decade ago by The Network) and go beyond clinical decisions, incorporating other points of care along the way.
“While there are many positive aspects to the CMS Oncology Care Model, it is overall quite complex and potentially disruptive to workflow,” explained David Cosgrove, M.D., medical oncologist with Compass Oncology, a practice in The Network located in Vancouver, Wash. “There are detailed expectations that smaller physician and community practices will find challenging. By the conclusion of this program, our expectation is to define optimal work flows enabled by technology solutions that allow us to maintain our high level of quality care while meeting the OCM requirements.”

Comprised of more than 25 oncology practices and over 1,000 physicians, The US Oncology Network is one of the nation’s largest networks of integrated, community-based oncology practices dedicated to advancing high-quality, evidence-based cancer care. As an organization whose affiliated physicians provide care to more than 800,000 cancer patients annually, The Network is a driving force in cancer care, initiating new industry trends and standards of excellence in patient care through research, innovative technology solutions, and the collective knowledge of thousands of healthcare professionals who have dedicated their lives to caring for people touched by cancer. Given the vast resources and knowledge base of The Network, the organization is well prepared to assist affiliated practices to move forward in the changing environment of alternative payment models.

“The focus of The Network OCM program is to keep the patient at the center of this transformation,” said Nicole Hartung, M.D., medical director of Quality for Minnesota Oncology, a practice in The Network. “We will not lose sight of this as a primary objective of this work. We believe that patients enrolled in the OCM should have an enhanced experience.”

The new OCM program is expected to be available for widespread distribution throughout The US Oncology Network by mid-2016.

About The US Oncology Network



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