Ted Okon, MBA, executive director, Community Oncology Alliance (COA), speaks on the most significant challenges members encountered in the past year managing the COVID-19 pandemic ahead of the 2021 Community Oncology Conference.
Ted Okon, MBA, is the executive director of the Community Oncology Alliance.
A year into the pandemic, what are the biggest challenges for COA members?
Okon: As we are now officially at the 1-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, challenges just abound. If you think about it, community oncology practices have had to reinvent themselves literally to keep their facilities and their providers, their staff, COVID-19 free so they can continue to treat patients. Especially as hospitals have been overrun with COVID-19, cancer care has really relied on the backbone of community oncology practices.
So, the biggest challenge has been basically how to reinvent yourself, how to think about the processes, both clinical and operationally, that you do so that you continue to treat patients. And I can tell you that the beauty of it is, is that community oncology practices, independent practices are up, running, healthy; seeing patients like never before; and dealing with the normal challenges of PBMs [pharmacy benefit managers] and everything else like that. I think they've done a remarkable job and put herculean efforts forth in terms of dealing with a pandemic and being able to keep the doors open.