Jeff Patton, MD, CEO, OneOncology, chairman of the board, Tennessee Oncology, discusses what audience members should expect from the Community Oncology Conference 2021 and sessions he is looking forward to.
Jeff Patton, MD, CEO of OneOncology and chairman of the board for Tennessee Oncology, discusses the Community Oncology Conference during its second year in a virtual format.
Heading into the second year of a virtual format for the Community Oncology Conference, how will this year’s layout compare to last year’s and what should audience members expect?
I think it'll be very similar. We got very good feedback on the format last year of going from live, to virtual. And so we're trying to recreate what it's like to be in person, which is hard, but I think we did a good job. The key aspect will be the same that we’ll continue to have 4 tracks, there'll be a clinical track, a business track, a pharmacy track, and an advocacy track.
The advantage of this format, quite frankly, is it's easier to switch from track to track and kind of see what you want to see. So, I highly encourage, as I always do, for non-clinical people to look at the clinical track and non-business folks to see what's going on in business down the line. The disadvantage, obviously, is missing the incredible networking opportunity, in which this is the best networking community oncology conference in the country. So, we will miss that.
What should the audience expect this year? This remains the penultimate community oncology conference, I said that before. I encourage every year anyone from Tennessee Oncology, and now everyone from OneOncology, if you can log on or participate in only one conference a year, this is the one.
As co-chair of this year’s conference, what discussions or sessions are you looking forward to most?
This is a little my bias—I'm introducing a Ronny Gal, a senior analyst from Bernstein, who will talk about the hospital transparency requirement that the government required starting in January. We've known for years that the hospitals have been overcharging for drugs and now that we have transparency, this is the biggest opportunity community oncology has had in 20 years to show that we are the high-quality, low-cost provider because they mark up drugs 250% and we certainly can't do that.
On the clinical side, all of them. I mean, it's fantastic. I guess the one that's near and dear to me is the immuno-oncology update, not just because my colleague David Spigel, MD, is doing it. He'll be introduced by my friend [Stephen "Fred" Divers, MD], and Tony Abraham[, DO MPA] will be on that as well.
On the pharmacy side, the PBM and payer update will be fascinating. We get a superstar cast there with John Levitt from Frier Levitt, our own Ted Okon, Rich Ingram[, MD], and Stuart Genschaw[, MHA, MBA]. So, all the games and tricks that the PBMs and insurers play—I would encourage attendance at that one.
And then I always enjoy the legislative update. Once again, an all-star cast: Ted Okon will moderate; Christian Downs[, JD, MHA] from [Association of Community Cancer Centers] will be there; Ben Jones from the US Oncology Network who I know is fantastic; Deborah Kamin[, RN, PhD,] who's from [American Society of Clinical Oncology], is great; Rebecca McGrath; and Brent Tallamy. So, this is always good and that's an all-star cast there.