Dr Michael Diaz on the Importance of Site of Care, PBM Reform


Michael Diaz, MD, president and managing physician, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, speaks on takeaways from his discussions on site of care and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) at the 2022 Community Oncology Conference.

The availability of cost-effective, value-based cancer care through community oncology practices is a major focus of my discussion on why site of care is important. Employers are beginning to understand and investigate ways of providing this care in dealing with pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), but greater education is needed, said Michael Diaz, MD, president and managing physician, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute.

Diaz participated in 2 sessions at the Community Oncology Alliance's (COA) 2022 Community Oncology Conference: "Employer/Payer Alert: Why the Site of Cancer Care Delivery Matters” and “Going After Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) at the State Level.”


At the 2022 Community Oncology Conference, you will be discussing why site of care matters. What are the most important takeaways?

Most important takeaways, there are so many to be quite honest with you. But I think overall, the talk is really focused on providing education, insight, and maybe even dispelling some myths. In the big picture of things, cancer care, for the most part, is so fairly well standardized.

The diagnosis is standardized, the treatment plans or pathways are fairly well standardized, and even the medications that you provide patients, they're accessible mostly anywhere. I really want everybody to know, learn, and understand that patients can get affordable, quality, value-based care close to home that's convenient, that's accessible, and they don't need to necessarily travel long distances or have higher co-pays. And they can still get access to what it is that they need to treat their cancer.

So, it's really to provide that education. We've got lots of evidence that shows that the value of the care is actually even better in the community setting. And so it's really a lot about awareness in helping people, employers, patients understand these things.

The challenges that community practices face in dealing with PBMs continue to be a priority for COA. Do you anticipate any policy solutions in 2022?

I would love to see policy solutions. I think that the government is still trying to get their mind around how big of an issue it is and what the issues and what the exact components specifically are. I'm not going to necessarily hold my breath for this year.

I think that a lot of the employers are starting to understand and they're starting to evaluate and investigate other ways of providing care for their employees, which is an important first step. So, we will hopefully see something next year, maybe the year after that. It will take a little bit more time, I think, before you have policy changes though.

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