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For Immediate Release: March 12, 2012
Association of Community Cancer Centers Releases Survey Results about Oncology Medical Home
ROCKVILLE, Md.—The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) released findings from a survey that explores how community-based cancer care programs view the concept of oncology medical home.
"ACCC is committed to improved patient engagement, enhanced patient access, and access to all disciplines of the care team—core tenets of a medical home and comprehensive care delivery", said ACCC President Thomas L. Whittaker, MD, FACP.
Oncology medical home may include coordination of care with the primary care providers and the oncology team as well as complement accountable care organizations (ACOs). ACOs agree to manage all of the healthcare needs for a defined population in a specific period; they are required to report on utilization, cost, and quality of care.
The ACCC survey of 217 administrators, oncologists and oncology nurses—63 percent of whom work in a hospital-based cancer program—showed that a majority believe the oncology home model could work in their practice or hospital cancer service line.
But there were caveats.
More than 90 respondents said they were concerned about start-up costs and payer negotiations. However, 46 respondents said they believe a medical home could provide better-quality, collaborative care at lower costs, and they would consider applying for recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).
Adding the non-clinicians necessary to staff an oncology medical home did not appear to be a handicap, with fewer than 20 percent of respondents saying that a financial coordinator, nurse navigator, or social worker would be difficult to justify financially.
“There is tremendous value in strong connections between oncology and primary care and in educating the entire oncology community about the structure and benefit of oncology medical home,” said Dr. Whittaker. “A medical home, I believe, could fit nicely into an accountable care organization (ACO), carving out the oncology care and the ownership of that care. Medical home and ACOs can complement each other.”
Nevertheless, half of all respondents said they don’t anticipate their practice or hospital joining or becoming part of an ACO or medical home within the next two years—perhaps because 46 percent have not yet seen a shift in their market away from a traditional buy-and-bill model.
By 2017, only 25 percent of respondents believe their facility will keep its current staffing/billing structure. Thirty-two percent of respondents envision their practice or hospital being part of both an ACO and medical home, 26 percent believe their facility will join or become an ACO, and 18 percent anticipate becoming a medical home.
Responses were mixed on whether these changes will be favorable. While 45 percent believe moving away from the buy-and-bill model will result in better patient care, 15 percent believe it won’t. And 33 percent of respondents said the change will negatively impact providers.
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