Oncology Group Piloting Patient-Centered Cancer Care Certification

Sept. 27, 2021
Pilot based on recently published Oncology Medical Home standards from the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Community Oncology Alliance

The Association for Clinical Oncology is piloting a Patient-Centered Cancer Care Certification program to certify that outpatient oncology group practices and health systems are meeting a single set of comprehensive, expert-backed standards for patient-centered care delivery.

The pilot is based on recently published Oncology Medical Home standards from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (an affiliate of ASCO) and the Community Oncology Alliance (COA).

ASCO and COA say the Oncology Medical Home will work hand-in-hand with value-based payment models such as the Oncology Care Model or successors to create a cohesive patient-centered cancer care delivery system that simultaneously increases patient access to care, improves care coordination, and enhances overall quality.

“The ASCO Patient-Centered Cancer Care Certification pilot equips practices to succeed in a value-based system by creating a complete care delivery framework that focuses on quality and value,” said Howard A. “Skip” Burris III, board chair of the Association for Clinical Oncology, in a statement. “Through this certification pilot, which we view as a real game-changer, we will enable practices to create and strengthen a culture of continuing quality improvement that will significantly produce meaningful, positive patient outcomes.”

Currently, most payers use their own set of measures that practices must adopt to demonstrate delivery of high-quality cancer care, according to the Association. 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 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, M.D., president of COA, in a statement. “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.”

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.

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 a successful completion of the pilot, ASCO  plans to open the certification to other participants.

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