5 Key Takeaways From Cancerscape: ACCC's Meeting on Policy, Value, and Quality

The 42nd annual meeting of the Association of Community Cancer Centers ensured that none of the oncology care providers in the audience left without realizing that healthcare has slowly been migrating to include value in care delivery and reimbursement decisions.

The 42nd annual meeting of the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC), Cancerscape, ensured that none of the oncology care providers in the audience left without realizing that healthcare has slowly been migrating to include value in care delivery and reimbursement decisions. Additionally, throughout the meeting, providers were urged to be active advocates by getting their message across to their representatives in Congress. Following are some highlights from the meeting:

1. In addition to Capitol Hill Day, when meeting participants interacted with legislators, ACCC invited Congressman Rick Nolan (D-MN) to deliver the opening talk at Cancerscape. Nolan who is close witness to the struggles of a cancer patient (his daughter suffers from lung cancer), advised care providers to speak up and bring their complaints and ideas to the attention of policymakers.

2. “I always thought, as a clinician my entire life, that I was dealing with personalized medicine. So what has changed?” That was the question posed by Kavita Patel, MD, MS, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, during her presentation at Cancerscape. Addressing the existing confusion around the word “value” in healthcare, Patel emphasized the need for alignment among the various stakeholders: physicians, payers, and patients.

3. While physicians groups and other healthcare organizations around the nation are up-in-arms, protesting the proposed value-based reimbursement model by CMS for specialty drugs covered under Medicare Part B, Lindsay Conway, MSEd, managing director, Advisory Board Company, provided physicians with a snapshot of other changes that might be coming their way in 2016 from Medicare. The update included information on how biosimilars could potentially impact reimbursement, billing codes for lung cancer screening, and that CMS will now reimburse physicians for spending time on advance-care planning.

4. A panel discussion at the meeting drew attention to the practical challenges with transitioning toward value-based care. The panel, moderated by Christian Downs, JD, MHA, executive director of ACCC, included Alan Balch, PhD, chief executive officer, Patient Advocate Foundation; Thomas A. Gallo, MS, executive director, Virginia Cancer Institute, Inc; and George Kovach, MD, Iowa Cancer Specialists. The panelists discussed the need for standardizing the various value frameworks in the making and improving patient understanding of their health coverage, among other things.

5. Addressing the concerns that a majority of community oncologists have with site neutral payment policies and the ever-burgeoning 340B drug pricing program, Ronald Barkley, MS, JD, of the CCBD Group, discussed the impact on cancer patients and the delivery of efficient, high-value care. Additionally, he shared data to help oncologists better understand the impact of alternate payment models and changes to reimbursement policies.