Dr Kashyap Patel: OCM Should Continue During the Pandemic

The Oncology Care Model (OCM) is scheduled to end in just a few months, but with no new model in place to succeed it and practices still struggling during the pandemic, OCM should continue in its current form, said Kashyap Patel, MD, CEO of Carolina Blood and Cancer Care Associations, current president of the Community Oncology Alliance, and co-chair of Patient-Centered Oncology Care®.

The Oncology Care Model (OCM) is scheduled to end in just a few months, but with no new model in place to succeed it and practices still struggling during the pandemic, OCM should continue in its current form, said Kashyap Patel, MD, CEO of Carolina Blood and Cancer Care Associations, current president of the Community Oncology Alliance, and co-chair of Patient-Centered Oncology Care®.

Transcript

The Oncology Care Model is getting close to the end, but the country is still in the middle of a pandemic; what do you think the next step should be?

OCM has been, in my opinion, a successful program in at least changing patient experience and helping practices bring true patient-centered care. Of course, some of the practices have not been able to achieve the financial targets for savings. But in my opinion, OCM has given us a blueprint for what the future of cancer care looks like. And until the pandemic is over, OCM should continue in its current form, because practices are heavily invested in the practice transformation.

And the future model should actually include disparities. We were not aware of the impact of disparities, and if you look at the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) report in 2020, it clearly highlights that there is a 34% higher risk of death for patients who are exposed to disparities. And even financially, according to AACR report 2020, between 2003 and 2006, we ended up spending $230 billion more in direct care and almost $1 trillion in indirect expenses.

So, economically, socially, morally, and just system-wise, we need to factor in the social disparities as well as economic disparities in designing any future model that will be truly successful in helping deliver patient-centered care.

If you had the ear of the Biden administration, what else would you recommend they do with value-based cancer care models moving forward?

I would recommend to the Biden administration to look at who is at the forefront during the COVID-19 worst phase. Every community oncologist that I knew continued to provide services. I’ve lost my colleagues, I have seriously lost my colleagues I trained with looking after COVID-19 patients, we have been struggling to keep the employees and staff on our payroll because some of the hospitals are paying close to $10,000 a week to the ICU [intensive care unit]-trained nurses.

So, we are experiencing staff shortage, employee shortage, and we definitely want the current administration to see how challenging it is to continue to provide care for cancer patients. And if it were not for community oncology, the cancer mortality would have been much, much higher.