Dr Marcus Neubauer Outlines the Benefits of the OCM and the Potential Successor Model

The Oncology Care Model (OCM) was a great program that led to practice transformation and improved patient care, but there needs to be a way to address the high cost of cancer therapies, said Marcus Neubauer, MD, chief medical officer of the US Oncology Network.

The Oncology Care Model (OCM) was a great program that led to practice transformation and improved patient care, but there needs to be a way to address the high cost of cancer therapies, said Marcus Neubauer, MD, chief medical officer of the US Oncology Network.

Transcript

What are you hoping comes after the Oncology Care Model (OCM)? What learnings from OCM should be in the successor model?

Yeah, I think that, first of all, it remains to be seen if there will be a successor, I hope there will be. I think that the OCM has been very good for patients. I think it's been good for changing the way that oncology is delivered. One of the things about the OCM, that's not talked about as much as cost savings and bending the cost curve is the change in the way care is delivered. And it really drove a lot of good things. I think patients were getting more attention, more coordination of care, more efforts to keep people out of the hospital and the emergency room, better evaluation of data to learn from the program. So, there was a lot of good with the OCM, I thought it was actually a great program and did a lot of good things for practices and, again, for patients.

But it's over, you know, in about 6 months. So, I think that it would be great if Medicare, [Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation] looked at another model—one that continues to drive value—and also look at ways to reimburse [and] pay for cancer care in an appropriate way. It's very, very expensive. There is a lot of utilization that’s not always needed. And I think there's still value in trying to explore better ways to pay for what's very expensive care.

Was there something missing from OCM that you would like to see in the successor model?

I think that in a subsequent model, I would continue to support the more comprehensive staff and infrastructure at practices. That is expensive; it's typically not reimbursed. So, to find a way to support that I think would be very important. Otherwise, there's a risk that nutritionist and social workers and community practice really can't be afforded. So, I think that's one thing I would definitely try to keep going in the next model, if you will.

I think that there does need to be continued focus on drugs. When you look at the baseline data for the OCM. The data that was calculated prior to the program beginning—2012 to 2015—drugs took up about 40% of the overall cost per episode. They're now at about 70%. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. There's been a lot of advances in drug therapy, but it's very, very, very expensive and that will be the focus whether you know participants like it or not.