Oncology Rounds

The latest news and research on cancer care from the Oncology Roundtable.

Ready for 2019? Catch up on our most popular oncology reads from 2018.

by Deirdre Saulet and Sarah Adam January 7, 2019

2018 was another eventful year in the oncology space—from regulatory changes to precision medicine innovations to evolving payment models. Read on to recap the top stories we covered in 2018.

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Cancer poised to unseat heart disease as the leading cause of death in the US by 2020

by Deirdre Saulet and Mallory Kirby December 20, 2018

Heart disease has held the unfortunate title of leading cause of death in the United States for nearly a century—since 1921. With declining death rates from heart disease and an aging population, that is about to change: According to research from CDC, cancer will surpass heart disease as the leading cause of death in the United States by 2020. Across a thirteen year span in the United States, counties with cancer as the leading cause of death doubled, from about two in every 10 counties during 2003 to four in every 10 counties in 2015.

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Cone Health increases lung screening volumes nearly five-fold by expanding navigation

Deirdre Saulet December 4, 2018

Navigators are an increasingly essential component of a comprehensive, patient-centered cancer program. However, given their expansive—and often poorly defined—role, it can be difficult to track their direct impact on quality and financial outcomes. But that's exactly what Cone Health Cancer Center-Alamance Regional in North Carolina has done since using Oncology Roundtable resources to help them add a second lung cancer navigator. Keep reading to see how Cone Health made the case and tracked the downstream impact—to the tune of an estimated $750,000 in additional revenue per year.

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4 takeaways for cancer programs from the 2019 HOPPS final rule and HHS announcements

Deirdre Saulet November 19, 2018

October and November have been action-packed when it comes to oncology reimbursement news. In the span of two weeks, CMS released its final regulations for payments to hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs), and HHS announced its intent to create mandatory payment reform pilots for Part B drug pricing and radiation oncology. This year's HOPPS rule is relatively uneventful compared with last year, but there are still significant changes every program needs to be aware of, in addition to the implications of the new payment reform pilots.

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Your 4-step guide to prepare for a mandatory radiation oncology bundle

Deirdre Saulet November 13, 2018

Way back in 2015, the Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act set the stage for a radiation oncology alternative payment model (APM). It froze payments for freestanding radiation therapy services until January 1, 2019, at which point CMS, Congress, and the provider community were supposed to agree to an alternative APM.

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What's the future of prostate cancer volumes?

by Deirdre Saulet and Kate Wister November 5, 2018

Three years ago, we discussed "Why your prostate cancer volumes are declining." Today, programs still grapple to plan accurately for prostate cancer volumes, especially given recent changes in USPSTF screening recommendations and the growing trend of active surveillance.

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Hospital-based vs. freestanding chemo: A close look at Medicare costs

Deirdre Saulet , Ashley Riley October 22, 2018

The difference in costs between hospital-based and freestanding or private practice settings is one of the hottest topics in cancer care—and health care more broadly. It's a complex issue that is fraught with tension. Here, we review the latest studies comparing Medicare chemotherapy costs in these two settings and what hospital-based infusion centers must do to succeed in the future.

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New research says survivorship care plans often fall short. Here are 3 ways to do better.

by Deirdre Saulet and Sarah Adam September 24, 2018

As the number of patients surviving cancer increases, so does the urgency to provide high-quality care to this population. Survivorship care plans (SCPs) have become a common—and, for programs accredited by the Commission on Cancer (CoC), required—tool that programs create for patients who have completed active treatment.

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