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5 Ways the COA Meeting Will Help Oncology Practices Succeed


At this year’s meeting, themed Fueling the Cancer Moonshot, attendees will gain a better understanding of strategies for success within the community oncology realm.

The Community Oncology Alliance (COA) will host its annual meeting, April 27-28, 2017, near Washington DC. With this year’s theme: Fueling the Cancer Moonshot, those in attendance will gain a better understanding of strategies for success within the community oncology realm. Here’s a glimpse into some of the discussions scheduled at the COA meeting:

1. Pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) profits

From restrictive tactics to direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fees, COA has worked with the law firm Frier Levitt, LLC, to develop white papers that describe the methods used by PBMs that would restrict patient access by shifting drug dispensing to their own specialty pharmacies or driving up drug costs through DIR fees, which, according to the report, is a backdoor vehicle used by PBMs to drive their profits.

To address these issues, COA has invited Honorable Earl L. “Buddy” Carter, US House of Representatives; Joshua Cox, PharmD, BCPS, director of pharmacy, Dayton Physicians Network; Steven D’Amato, BS Pharm, executive director, New England Cancer Specialists; and Jonathan E. Levitt, Esq., Founding Partner, Frier Levitt.

2. Early experiences: CMS’ Oncology Care Model (OCM)

The 196 oncology practices and 17 payers that have enrolled in the 5-year OCM pilot are almost at the 1-year mark of this alternative payment model, and should have received their data feed from CMS at the end of March for 6-month episode cycles.

At this year’s meeting, Robert Baird, Jr, RN, MSA, CASC, CEO, Dayton Physicians Network; Alti Rahman, MHA, MBA, CSSBB, practice administrator, Oncology Consultants; and Anne Marie Rainey, MSN, RN, CHC, compliance & quality control officer, Clearview Cancer Institute, will participate on a panel and share their early experiences with OCM implementation.

3. Payer initiatives in cancer care. The value-based care movement has forced smaller oncology practices, healthcare systems, and payers to make changes in care delivery and reimbursements models, if they had not already. The emphasis is on reducing the cost of services and medication without compromising on quality, while ensuring that the patient remains at the front and center of care.

Moderated by Robert “Bo” Gamble, director of strategic practice initiative, COA, Rene Frick, senior director, Provider Network Innovations & Partnerships, BCBS of South Carolina; Amanda Joseph, MS-HSM, senior affordability of care strategy consultant, Healthcare Service Corporation; Barbara McAneny, MD, chief medical officer, New Mexico Oncology Hematology Consultants; and Kashyap Patel, MD, Carolina Blood & Cancer Care, will share experiences from their respective models.

4. Cancer Moonshot in the community

The theme of this year’s meeting is Fueling the Cancer Moonshot, which was as an initiative launched by former Vice President Joe Biden during the former administration’s last year in office. The Moonshot report recommended the need for the cancer care community to focus on realigning research incentives, prevention and screening efforts, patient engagement, and expanding access to care, among others. Can community practices play a unique role in achieving these goals?

William Harwin, MD, president and managing partner, Florida Cancer Specialists; Edward Licitra, MD, PhD, chief financial officer & director of revenue cycle central Jersey Division, Regional Cancer Care Associates; Debra Patt, MD, MPH, MBA, vice president, Texas Oncology; and R. Steven Paulson, MD, president, Texas Oncology, will dive deeper into this idea during a panel on the second day of the meeting.

5. Challenges with oral adherence in oncology

Oral chemotherapy agents are convenient because they save the patient a trip to the hospital or a healthcare facility, but they have been shown, time and again, to raise adherence issues. Lack of adherence, especially in oncology where the fear of recurrence is high, has resulted in significant investments by diverse stakeholders in care programs and technology that can improve adherence and, ultimately, patient outcomes.

Pharmacy managers from several community-based cancer clinics will discuss these challenges and how their pharmacy has addressed this problem. Participants include Ray Bailey, RPh, director of pharmacy, Florida Cancer Specialists; Stacey McCullough, PharmD, senior vice president, pharmacy, Tennessee Oncology; and Todd Murphree, PharmD, ambulatory pharmacy manager, Clearview Cancer Institute.

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