ACCC Releases Survey on ‘Oncology Medical Home’

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The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) released findings from a survey that explores how community-based cancer care programs view the concept of the “oncology medical home”—a patient-centered model for coordinated care, whereby payers would reimburse physicians for services that keep patients out of the hospital, thereby reducing total health-care costs.

“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. Accountable care organizations agree to manage all of the health-care 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 216 administrators, oncologists, and oncology nurses—63% of whom work in a hospital-based cancer program—showed that a large majority (184 out of 254 responses) believe the oncology home model could work in their practice or hospital cancer service line.

Caveats Emerge

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.

Adding the nonclinicians necessary to staff an oncology medical home did not appear to be a handicap, with fewer than 20% of respondents saying that a financial coordinator, nurse navigator, or social worker would be difficult to justify financially.

Nevertheless, half of all respondents said they don’t anticipate their practice or hospital joining or becoming part of an accountable care organization or medical home within the next 2 years—perhaps because 46% have not yet seen a shift in their market away from a traditional buy-and-bill model.

By 2017, only 25% of respondents believe their facility will keep its current staffing/billing structure. About 32% of respondents envision their practice or hospital being part of both an accountable care organization and medical home, 26% believe their facility will join or become an accountable care organization, and 18% anticipate becoming a medical home. ■

Dislcosure: Dr. Whittaker reported no potential conflicts of interest.