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Oncology Practice Administrators Discuss Early Findings From the OCM

Surabhi Dangi-Garimella, PhD
At the 2017 Community Oncology Conference, practice administrators from 2 community clinics discussed the changes they made to their practice to accommodate the reporting requirements of the Oncology Care Model (OCM), and the follow-up planned as they work to implement changes.
Oncology practices that are participating in the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation’s Oncology Care Model (OCM) have started receiving performance feedback from CMS. At the 2017 Community Oncology Conference, held April 26-27 at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, practice administrators from 2 community clinics discussed the changes they made to their practice to accommodate the reporting requirements, and the follow-up planned as they work to implement changes.

The panel, moderated by Robert Baird Jr, RN, MSA, CASC, CEO, Dayton, Physicians Network, included Alti Rahman, MHA, MBA, CSSBB, practice administrator, Oncology Consultants, and Anne Marie Rainey, MSN, RN, CHC, compliance & quality control officer, Clearview Cancer Institute.

When queried on how their practices accommodated participation in OCM, Rainey said that as with any new program, “You think it’s going well some days, but on other days we don’t.” She explained that while there are a lot of positives to participating in OCM, “we have had to also work to make changes to make this sustainable for our practice—not just OCM, but other reporting requirements as well.”

For Oncology Consultants, the initial challenge was the review of the entire quality reporting aspect within their practice.

“We developed 2 teams: 1 looking at the clinical data and the other focused on quality aspects,” Rahman said. The 2 team leads made sure that operational changes matched the reporting, Rahman said, “Which helped meet the OCM reporting and quality initiatives across our primary and satellite sites.”

According to Rainey, an open-door policy and an emphasis on communication has been key to success.

“We found out early on that in addition to e-mail updates, monthly and quarterly meetings worked well to provide continuous quality feedback for each department,” Rainey said. "We have found unique ways to make this work.”

Both agreed that adequate staffing was of essence to meet the quality and reporting requirements of OCM.

When Baird asked them to identify the major challenges they have faced over the past year with OCM implementation, Rainey noted that workflow changes were the hardest barrier to overcome. There was a lot of resistance from the staff who felt “we were just adding care plan steps or clicks within the workflow. That was initially huge, but we have overcome most of that, although there will always be room for improvements,” she said.

Rahman identified staffing, infrastructure, and information technology needs as the challenges, a majority of which he said were related to operational and reporting requirements. Another major challenge was getting a grip on the cost of managing the manual abstraction of data from the electronic health records. “We had to look at the costs of manual versus automated data abstraction.”

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