NHO Selected for Patient-Centered Cancer Care Certification Pilot

LINCOLN, Neb. –  The Association for Clinical Oncology has announced that Nebraska Hematology-Oncology will be one of only 12 practices nationwide to be selected for the ASCO Patient-Centered Cancer Care Certification, a new pilot that certifies outpatient oncology group practices and health systems that meet a single set of comprehensive, expert-backed standards for patient-centered care delivery. The pilot is based on recently published oncology medical home standards (OMH) from the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Community Oncology Alliance (COA).

“Participating in the ASCO Patient-Centered Cancer Care Certification pilot reaffirms our commitment to patient-centric, coordinated care that allows us to ensure our patients are being set up for success with every phase of their treatment,” commented Dr. Eric Avery, oncologist at Nebraska Hematology-Oncology. “We know that improving on the measures set forth by this model will help us reduce costs to patients, address barriers that could affect a patient’s treatment, and work more collaboratively with other healthcare teams to ensure the needs of the patient are being met in every phase of their health. We hope our patients will feel assured that we are always striving for the very best in their care.”

The United States health care system is moving toward value-based reimbursement, with new innovations in value-based payment models, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Oncology Care Model. For these new payment models to succeed and meet the needs of patients with cancer, innovations are required in care delivery. The ASCO Patient-Centered Cancer Care Certification, Featuring ASCO and COA Oncology Medical Home, will work together with value-based payment models to create a cohesive patient-centered cancer care delivery system that simultaneously increases patient access to care, improves care coordination, and enhances overall quality.

Currently, most payers in the United States use their own set of specific measures that practices must adopt to demonstrate the delivery of high-quality cancer care. Adhering to all of these differing measures is extremely time-consuming, duplicative, and inefficient yet still leaves practices and patients without a standard objective measurement for high-quality cancer care.

By using a single set of comprehensive, expert-backed standards, the pilot aims to reduce the administrative burden for practices, empower patients by providing an objective measurement for high-quality cancer care, and show payers which oncology practices are meeting the highest, evidence-backed measurement of high-quality cancer care.

“Oncology practices have to navigate up to 35 different oncology payment models across public and commercial plans, each with their own set of measures to meet,” said Kashyap Patel, MD, President of COA, which is collaborating with ASCO to develop and evaluate the pilot. “We’re confident that this pilot will demonstrate to all stakeholders that one single set of expert-backed standards can increase quality and confidence in cancer care delivery.”

Participants Include Oncology Practices in Variety of Cancer Care Settings

The pilot includes 88 cancer care sites and nearly 500 oncologists from 12 participating practice groups and health systems in a variety of settings, including community, hospital, and academic settings. Anthem, a national payer, has also signed on to participate and will share hospital utilization, drug utilization, and other data for a number of practices in order to monitor the impact of the pilot on cost and outcomes. Additional payers may be added during the initial pilot period.

Participating Practices Include: 

Blue Ridge Cancer Care | Roanoke, Va. 
Cancer & Hematology Centers of Western Michigan | Grand Rapids, Mich. 
Central Georgia Cancer Care | Macon, Ga. 
Hematology-Oncology Associates of CNY | East Syracuse, N.Y. 
Memorial Cancer Institute | Hollywood, Fla. 
Nebraska Hematology-Oncology, PC | Lincoln, Neb. 
New England Cancer Specialists | Scarborough, Maine 
Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center - Jefferson Health | Philadelphia, Penn. 
Tennessee Oncology, a partner of OneOncology | Nashville, Tenn. 
The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders | Fort Worth, Texas 
University of Colorado Cancer Center | Aurora, Colo. 
Yale New Haven Health- Smilow Cancer Hospital | New Haven, Conn. 

Practices will be certified by the ASCO Certification Program based on adherence to the published ASCO-COA Oncology Home Standards, which focus on seven different domains of cancer care, including: patient engagement; availability and access to care; evidence-based medicine; equitable and comprehensive team-based care; quality improvement; goals of care, palliative and end-of-life care discussions; and chemotherapy safety.

The measurement period for the certification pilot began July 2021 for practice quality measure reporting, and ASCO has already started the first round of site visits to assess how each participating practice performs on each domain. Pilot surveyors include representatives from both ASCO and COA. Practices will receive site survey results with action plans providing guidance on how they can make changes to improve performance. 

Throughout the measurement period, participating practices will use the ASCO Quality Reporting Registry, a new data registry platform powered by CancerLinQ®, for ongoing measurement of quality, outcomes, and utilization measures from electronic health records, insurance claims, patient satisfaction surveys, and clinical pathways systems. 

ASCO anticipates awarding the first set of certifications by Spring/Summer 2022. Pending successful completion of the pilot, ASCO then plans to open the certification to other participants.

The ASCO Patient-Centered Cancer Care Certification is based on the oncology medical home care delivery model, which has been found to reduce costly emergency department visits by 15% to 50%, (1) reduce inpatient admissions by 10% to 40% in a variety of populations, and reduce the overall cost of cancer care by 7-13%. (2) Several Oncology Medical Home models have been piloted, including the COME HOME demonstration project and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center (CMMI) Oncology Care Model. In addition, ASCO’s Patient-Centered Oncology Payment (PCOP) model incorporates concepts consistent with the Oncology Medical Home model.

1Waters TM, Webster JA, Stevens LA, et al. (2015). Community oncology medical homes: physician-driven change to improve patient care and reduce costs. Journal of Oncology Practice 11(6), 462-467.
2Cox, JV, Spandio, JD and Barkley,R. (2013). Understanding and surviving the transition to value-based oncology. American Society of Clinical Oncology Education Book 33 (May 16, 2013), e361-e368.