Community Oncology Alliance Announces Major Support Initiative for CMS Oncology Care Model

COA Fully Committed to Success of OCM, Oncology Payment and Delivery Reform

COA Providing Expert Support to OCM Practices, Launches Peer-to-Peer Learning Network, and Gathering Stakeholder Guidance for Future Support

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Community Oncology Alliance (COA) has launched a major support initiative effort behind the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center’s (CMMI) oncology payment and delivery reform initiative, the Oncology Care Model (OCM).

Launched last month, the OCM is an oncology-specific payment and delivery reform model which aims to provide higher quality, more highly coordinated oncology care while achieving cost efficiencies for Medicare and beneficiaries. Close to 200 oncology practices and 16 payers across the country treating more than 150,000 Medicare beneficiaries are currently participating in the OCM.

COA is focused on helping oncology practices succeed and thrive in implementing the OCM. In addition to providing access to experts with deep knowledge of Federal and private reform efforts, COA has also organized a peer-to-peer learning network, and is hosting regular calls to providing guidance on the complex challenges practices face with the OCM. COA is also working with practices to develop and share free tools and resources to help OCM practices manage implementation issues, such as providing estimates of the total cost of patient care. This all ties in with the considerable work and resources COA has developed as part of its Oncology Medical Home, which is the foundation of the OCM.

“One of COA’s core missions is to help oncology practices succeed in any improvement or reform initiative so that patients receive the best cancer care possible,” said Bo Gamble, COA’s director of strategic practice initiatives. “The OCM requires practices to make major changes to the way they operate. The COA OCM support network is hopefully making this initiative easier and better ensuring success. This is a great opportunity for the community to come together and meet the demands of the 21st century health care system to ensure the care it delivers is high quality and high value.”

The COA OCM support network was created at the request of oncology practices. To date, more than 60 percent of OCM practices are actively participating, including the key oncologists, administrators, and nurses responsible for it. COA is also working closely with the 17 health insurers participating in the OCM to ensure smooth payer-provider communications as the initiative is formed.

COA has also partnered with expert veterans of Federal quality and payment reform initiatives who are serving as close advisors to practices. They include Kavita Patel, MD, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former Director of Policy for The White House under President Obama and a senior advisor to the late Senator Edward Kennedy; Basit Chaudhry, MD, PhD, founder and CEO of Tuple Health and former medical scientist at IBM Research where, among other things, he was lead research clinician for IBM’s artificial intelligence computing system Watson; and Laura Long, MD, MPH, president at TheLongView and former chief medical officer and vice president for clinical innovation at BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.

“Community oncology has led the way in being a champion of delivery and payment reform efforts such as the Oncology Medical Home, OCM, and countless other projects with both private insurers and Medicare,” said Bruce Gould, MD, president of COA and medical director of Northwest Georgia Oncology Centers in Marietta, Ga. “We may not always see eye to eye with CMS, but we certainly support the spirit of ensuring that American’s receive the highest quality, most affordable cancer care. We look forward to seeing what can be learned from the OCM and how it might guide future transformation in cancer care.”

Practices interested in joining the OCM support network should email  OCMSupport@COAcancer.org. It is free of charge for all OCM practices to join.

About the Community Oncology Alliance: The Community Oncology Alliance (COA) is the only non-profit organization dedicated solely to preserving and protecting access to community cancer care, where the majority of Americans with cancer are treated. COA helps the nation’s community cancer clinics navigate an increasingly challenging practice environment to improve cancer care, lead patient advocacy, and offer proactive solutions to Congress and policy makers. To learn more about COA visit http://www.CommunityOncology.org. Follow COA on Twitter @OncologyCOA or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CommunityOncologyAlliance/.