Oncology Rounds

Ready for 2020? Make sure you're up to speed on our top oncology reads of 2019.

by Deirdre Saulet and Emily Venner

This year was marked by treatment and technology innovations and significant regulatory changes that will impact cancer care providers. Catch up on any stories you missed and review our takeaways as you plan for 2020.

How Medicare reimbursement for cancer services will change in 2020

1. Your top questions on the Radiation Oncology Model, answered

We've received an influx of questions from cancer programs across the country since CMS published the Radiation Oncology Model proposal in mid-July. Read our takeaways and keys to success and then dig deeper into the details of the proposal for answers to your biggest questions. Read the post

Author's note: At the time of publishing, we are still waiting for an update on the Radiation Oncology Model. While planned to start in 2020, CMS has yet to publish the final rule, likely indicating a delay.

2. The 2020 HOPPS final rule brings major changes physician supervision—and more—for cancer programs

November was an action-packed month for CMS, with the 2020 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS) final rule loosening requirements for outpatient therapeutic services—among other changes! Review the 2020 HOPPS final rule and the implications for your cancer program. Read the post

3. CMS' chemotherapy measure: What cancer programs need to know

A significant number of cancer patients visit the ED each year, driving avoidable costs and negatively impacting quality. Now, OP-35, the first chemo-specific Hospital Outpatient Quality Reporting measure is rolling out, and will publicly report on inpatient admissions and ED utilization. Learn what it is, how it's calculated, and how you can leverage the data.  Read the post

4. How are your peers managing immunotherapies? Here's what you need to know.

Immunotherapy is one of the most significant developments in cancer treatment in recent history. Although it offers exciting potential for improving clinical outcomes, immunotherapy also poses challenges to providers. See what other institutions are saying about managing immunotherapies, including checkpoint inhibitors and CAR T-cell therapy.  Read the post

5. Don't know how to lower costs and raise quality? Your pharmacists do.

Although pharmacists are an integral part of the cancer care team, evidence suggests their skills are not being fully utilized. In the 2018 ACCC Trending Now in Cancer Care Survey, 89% of programs reported employing either pharmacists or pharmacy technicians, and 75% reported employing both types of staff. Make the most of your pharmacist team by learning what other organizations have done. Read the post

6. CMMI outlines potential next steps in oncology payment reform—the Oncology Care First Model

The comment period for CMMI’s informal RFI on the Oncology Care First (OCF) model ended December 13. Set to replace the Oncology Care Model (OCM) in 2021, the OCF gives us a glimpse into CMMI's intentions for the next phase of oncology payment form. Here’s what you need to know about the proposal as you anticipate the finalized model. Read the post

7. Improve cancer patient survival and cut costs? There’s a remote symptom monitoring platform for that.

According to our 2019 Cancer Patient Experience Survey, cancer patients value specialized symptom management above all other cancer program services. In addition to positively impacting patient satisfaction, improved symptom management can help reduce costs and improve quality. Read on to learn how programs are using remote symptom monitoring technology to drive significant benefits for their patients. Read the post

8. How Sharp HealthCare is improving access to genetic counseling

Over the past decade, the field of genetics has rapidly evolved, leading to more testing options and more people who would benefit from these tests. For providers, it is more critical—and difficult—than ever to stay on top of emerging evidence and guidelines. This increased complexity also means that organizations must make the most of valuable, and often limited, genetic counselor expertise. Read on to hear how Sharp HealthCare is tackling the challenge of providing genetic counseling to their patients. Read the post

9. That sensor is going where?! The impact of digital pills on oral chemo adherence.

Oral chemotherapy is on the rise—with a lot at stake if patients’ medications aren't managed effectively to ensure treatment adherence.  Read the post

10. How your peers are using APPs—and what you can do to keep them on your team

It's no secret that advanced practice providers (APPs) are high-value staffing resources, especially in medical oncology where they can help expand access, improve symptom management, or make up for physician shortages. And while we've been talking about top-of-license practice for decades, many programs struggle to do so due to avoidable time sinks, lack of insight into the APP role, or challenges related to organizational culture and physician buy in. Read the post

Charting the cancer patient journey—from diagnosis to survivorship

In this infographic, we've complied our top findings from the 2019 Cancer Patient Experience survey, so you can better understand patient priorities and preferences for care.

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