This Week in Managed Care: April 24, 2020

April 24, 2020

This week, the top managed care news included HHS' plans to allocate the remaining $70 billion in COVID-19 funding to providers; an analysis finding aggressive social distancing measures economically justified; highlights from this week's virtual Community Oncology Conference.

HHS informs providers how it will allocate the remaining $70 billion in COVID-19 funding, an analysis finds aggressive social distancing measures economically justified, and we provide highlights of this week’s virtual conference from the Community Oncology Alliance.

Welcome to This Week in Managed Care, I’m Matthew Gavidia.

HHS Divides COVID-19 Aid to Providers

After receiving $30 billion out of a possible $100 billion, providers learned how HHS will allocate the remaining $70 billion in COVID-19 funding provided by Congress in an economic stimulus package weeks ago.

$20 billion will be given to providers that will build on the first $30 billion, and will be based on net patient revenues from 2018.

Additionally, $10 billion will be given to hospitals in areas hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak, such as New York; $10 billion to rural hospitals; and $400 million to Indian Health Service facilities.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar claims there will be more than enough money for providers to give care to the uninsured, but he did not specify how much HHS expects that to cost. The providers will be paid at Medicare rates, and they will also have to agree to not balance bill patients.

For more, visit ajmc.com.

Analysis Finds Social Distancing Measures Economically Justified

As some states move to eschew social distancing recommendations by beginning plans to reopen businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of economists highlight in a recent study that the potential benefits of social distancing in saving lives far outweigh the projected damage to the economy.

In findings published in the Journal of Benefit Cost Analysis, they estimated that the current social distancing measures across the country will reduce the average contact rate among individuals by 38%, which would then reduce the peak of the infection curve by more than half.

After performing a rapid benefit-cost analysis, the study authors indicated net benefits of about $5.2 trillion based on these social distancing measures.

“Social distancing saves lives but comes at large costs to society due to reduced economic activity. Still, based on our benchmark assumptions, the economic benefits of lives saved substantially outweigh the value of the projected losses to the US economy,” said lead study author Linda Thunstrom, assistant professor in the Department of Economics in the University of Wyoming College of Business.

For more, visit ajmc.com.

Coverage of Virtual COA Meeting Includes Future of Oncology Care First

This week, the Community Oncology Alliance presented its 2020 Community Oncology Conference in a virtual format.

AJMC.com provided full coverage of the virtual meeting, which took place April 23rd and 24th.

Highlights included top issues affecting cancer care today and the future of the Oncology Care First model.

For full conference coverage, visit ajmc.com.

Breast Cancer, Cholangiocarcinoma Drugs Approved

This week, the FDA granted accelerated approval to Immunomedics’ Trodelvy for metastatic triple-negative breast cancer, making it the first antibody-drug conjugate that targets the Trop-2 antigen.

“The approval of Trodelvy today represents a new targeted therapy for patients living with this aggressive malignancy,” stated Richard Pazdur, MD, director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence.

The move comes after another FDA approval this week of the orphan drug pemigatinib for patients with cholangiocarcinoma.

The “approval of [pemigatinib] provides an exciting new treatment option for patients and will bring hope to those who typically face a difficult diagnosis journey and poor prognosis,” said Stacie Lindsey, president of the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation, in a statement.

The oral kinase inhibitor was approved under an accelerated approval process, making it the first targeted therapy for patients with cholangiocarcinoma, a rare cancer that impacts the bile ducts.

For content on the FDA approvals of Trodelvy and pemigatinib, visit ajmc.com.

Coverage of AMCP eLearning Days

AJMC.com covered the AMCP eLearning Days this week, a webinar series held in place of the annual meeting of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy.

In a survey on the effects of COVID-19, Douglas M. Long, vice president of industry relations for IQVIA, indicated that it will upend drug purchasing patterns and likely cause more disruption in the future.

For more, visit ajmc.com.

Paper of the Week

Now we bring you Paper of the Week, which looks back at research and commentary of the past 25 years in The American Journal of Managed Care® and why it matters today.

This week’s paper, from authors at the US Oncology Network and McKesson Specialty Health, appeared in March 2015 and found a cost differential by site of service for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.

The authors used data from Truven Health Analytics and found that costs were lower in community oncology clinics compared with hospital settings, and this held across different geographic areas, different demographics, and different clinical features of the cancer.

For the full paper, visit ajmc.com.

For all of us at AJMC®, I’m Matthew Gavidia. Thanks for joining us.