March 2: Community Oncology Alliance Applauds New Oncology Payment Reform Bill by U.S. Senators Cornyn and Carper

Oncology Medical Home Model Demonstration Project Will Support Quality and Value in Cancer Care

The Community Oncology Alliance (COA) commends United States Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Tom Carper (D-DE) for introducing the Cancer Care Payment Reform Act of 2017 (S.463) which establishes a national Oncology Medical Home (OMH) demonstration project to reform the way Medicare pays for cancer care.

The purpose of the bill is to change the way Medicare pays for cancer treatment by supporting high quality, well-coordinated care that lowers costs to patients fighting cancer and the overall health care system. COA will be working with community oncology practices to actively enlist the support of their Senators for this bipartisan legislation and to advance a House companion bill.

“The OMH is a proven model that provides enhanced patient communications, greater care coordination, and increased responsiveness to patient needs. Thoughtful, bipartisan legislation like the Cancer Care Payment Reform Act of 2017, is exactly the type of public policy that our nation’s health care system needs,” said Jeff Vacirca, MD, president of COA and CEO of New York Cancer Specialists. “Senators Cornyn and Carper should be loudly applauded for their commitment to cancer patients and practices across the country. We look forward to continuing to work with their office, the rest of Congress, and the administration of President Trump to move our nation’s cancer care system into the future.”

Community oncology practices treat the majority of patients with cancer in America and are committed to making oncology payment reform succeed for all. This includes leading the development and piloting of the original OMH model, as well as, participating in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center’s (CMMI) oncology payment and delivery reform initiative, the Oncology Care Model (OCM).

“Senators Cornyn and Carper must be commended for their leadership on this issue. The Cancer Payment Reform Act of 2017 will serve as a catalyst for developing new, innovative alternative payment models that will increase the quality of care while reducing overall health care costs,” said Ray D. Page, DO, PhD, FACOI of the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders in Fort Worth, Texas, a pioneering practice that developed and uses the OMH model of patient care.

“The entire nation is looking for ways to improve quality and lower costs in health care. Thanks to Senators Cornyn and Carper, meaningful payment reform in cancer care is a huge step closer to becoming a reality,” said Jamil Khatri, MD of Regional Hematology and Oncology, P.A. in Newark, Delaware.

The Cancer Care Payment Reform Act of 2017 creates a five-year OMH pilot program that will provide practices the option of participating in a model which compares treatment methods and best practices. It would incentivize oncology practices to improve quality measures and keep patients out of the expensive hospital setting, ultimately reducing overall health care costs. Participating oncology practices would then be rewarded with shared savings.