ASCO Releases Payment Reform Proposal to Support Higher Quality, More Affordable Cancer Care

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ASCO has released a proposal to significantly improve the quality and affordability of care for cancer patients. Expanding on a payment model circulated last year, the ASCO proposal would fundamentally restructure the way oncologists are paid for cancer care in the United States, by providing sufficient payment to support the full range of services that cancer patients need and removing the barriers created by the current payment system to delivering high-quality, affordable care.

ASCO’s Patient-Centered Oncology Payment: Payment Reform to Support Higher Quality, More Affordable Cancer Care (PCOP) proposal is designed to simultaneously improve services to patients and reduce spending for Medicare and other payers.

ASCO’s proposal addresses one of the major problems in today’s fee-for-service system: inadequate payment for the wide range of services critical to supporting patients with cancer and managing a complex illness that often changes from day to day. They include:

  • Education and support to help patients make the best choices about their cancer treatment,
  • Rapid response for patients experiencing problems during treatment to help avoid emergency department visits or hospitalizations,
  • Care coordination with other healthcare providers, and
  • Continued support to patients after active treatment ends.

Under PCOP, oncology practices would commit to delivering evidence-based care ensuring patients are receiving the most appropriate tests and treatments, while avoiding unnecessary expenses.

The PCOP proposal was developed by an ASCO volunteer work group of leading medical oncologists from diverse practice settings, seasoned practice administrators, and experts in physician payment and business analysis. 

The PCOP proposal incorporates extensive input that the Society received on an earlier draft proposal, Consolidated Payments for Oncology Care (CPOC), released in May 2014. Over the past year, many ASCO members and other stakeholders have endorsed the need for payment reform in oncology and provided suggestions on ways to improve the CPOC model. That input was used to develop the PCOP proposal.

ASCO is soliciting comments on its payment reform model through July 20. For more information, and the complete text version of the ASCO payment reform model, please visit ■

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