September 2012 Edition Vol.11, Issue 9

Are Medical Homes and ACOs the Future of Cancer Care

Are Medical Homes and ACOs the Future of Cancer Care?

By Lynne Lederman, PhD

As the cost of healthcare continues to rise, the cost of cancer care is disproportionately increasing.1 Accountable care organizations (ACOs) and other ACO-like arrangements, which are expected to result in significant healthcare savings, are beginning to include oncology providers,2 as evidenced by the recent $19M grant to New Mexico Oncology Hematology Consultants by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Health Care Innovation Award.

These CMS grants are helping to fund the development of ACO-like models of care delivery across the board.3 However, of the approximately 107 grants thus far awarded, New Mexico Oncology Hematology Consultants received the only award funding an oncology-related project. 

Barbara L. McAneny, MD, CEO of New Mexico Oncology Hematology Consultants said the 3-year grant will go to Innovative Oncology Business Solutions, Inc., which represents 7 community oncology practices in New Mexico, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee, and will be used to develop oncology medical homes to provide outpatient oncology care that includes patient education, team care, medication management, 24-hour, 7-day practice access, and inpatient care coordination.4

According to Dr. McAneny, the goals of the oncology medical home at New Mexico Cancer Center include avoiding duplication of care, and expanding hours of operation in evenings and on weekends to help patients avoid expensive ER visits. Over the 3-year grant period, the practice will study how to provide services as bundled payments, and determine how much is needed to take care of newly diagnosed patients with cancer. The Center also hopes to become eligible for National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) designation as a medical home. 

Similarly, practices or organizations that are already operating as oncology medical homes and addressing the problems of coordination of care that ACOs are expected to include are Consultants in Medical Oncology and Hematology in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania; ProMedica Physicians Group serving northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan; Advanced Medical Specialties in Miami, Florida; and Tennessee Oncology, serving middle Tennessee. 

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