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Barry Russo on How Education Can Help Practices Achieve OCM Implementation

The Oncology Care Model (OCM) can challenge providers who are overwhelmed by the wide scope of data involved, according to Barry Russo, CEO of The Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders. He explained the importance of educating staff, physicians, and patients to help ease the journey towards any new model.


The Oncology Care Model (OCM) can challenge providers who are overwhelmed by the wide scope of data involved, according to Barry Russo, CEO of The Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders. He explained the importance of educating staff, physicians, and patients to help ease the journey towards any new model.

Transcript (slightly modified)

What has been your experience with the Oncology Care Model? What have been your biggest challenges?

Well it’s just started in July, so it hasn’t been too long that it’s been in place, but we have certainly struggled with the data. The claims information that CMS sent to us was a lot of data, hard, or not easy for us who aren’t experts on claims data, to aggregate it, to process it, so we’ve had to go outside and find actuarial support to do that. So our biggest challenge has been understanding that data overall.

The other challenge we’ve had with OCM is just… the scope of it, the number of pieces of information that come out of CMS, the ongoing changes, the developments. It seems like every week it has sort of a new, not twist, but a new piece to it that we’re still trying to grab and get last week’s piece before we move on to this week’s piece.

We like the OCM Model, we’ve been an oncology medical home and we were a COME HOME [Community Oncology Medical Home] practice, we’re an Aetna practice, we’ve been in the United episode fee program since 2009, so we understand this concept. It’s not foreign to us, it’s something that we do actually feel good about, but administratively the CMS OCM model has been a bigger administrative burden than we originally anticipated.

Are you doing anything internally with administration to train or educate staff during the transition?

Education has been a big piece. OCM and OMH is an agenda item on every committee meeting, every meeting, every forum that we have inside the practice, it’s an ongoing agenda item. It is clear to us, since we’ve kind of been doing this since 2009 with United, that the education to our staff and to our physicians and to our patients is a journey, not a destination, and that it’s constant and consistent. I can’t stress enough how important that has been for our practice and for any practice who’s going to be doing this going forward.

 
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