Community Oncology Alliance Explores Challenges in Cancer Patient Care

Annual meeting explores how to overcome the challenges with patient care that community oncology practices face on a daily basis.

The Community Oncology Alliance (COA) hosted its annual meeting April 12-13, 2018, in National Harbor, Maryland. The meeting, which brings together stakeholders from across oncology, delved into overcoming the challenges with patient care that community oncology practices face on a daily basis.

Here are highlights from some of the discussions at the meeting:

1. A deeper dive into MIPS. Two experts from Avalere Health walked the oncology caregivers gathered at COA through the reimbursement programs offered by CMS. Caroline Pearson explained that the primary objective is to reduce costs while simultaneously ensuring high-quality care. Incentives, in her opinion, are a helpful way to push adoption. Despite incentives, physician participation in advanced alternate payment models (A-APMs) remains low: “CMS predicts that 75% of clinicians will participate in the Merit-based Incentive Payment program and 25% will be a part of an A-APM in 2018,” Pearson said.

Pearson’s colleague, Richard Kane, spoke about the 5-year voluntary pilot specifically developed for oncology practices: the Oncology Care Model (OCM), and informed the audience to be on the lookout for the next iteration of OCM.

2. CAR T-cell therapies in the community. Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapies have been gaining strides and community practices are eager to bring this gene therapy to their patients. At the annual meeting, Houston Holmes, MD, MBA, FACP, Texas Oncology, shared his experience with administering CAR T cells in a community cancer center—based setting.

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