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NCCN Policy Summit: Defining, Measuring, and Applying Quality in an Evolving Health Policy Landscape and the Implications for Cancer Care

Lindsey A.M. Bandini, Leigh Gallo, Terrell Johnson, Kara Martin, Alyssa A. Schatz, Kerin Adelson, Bryan A. Loy, Ronald S. Walters, Tracy Wong, and Robert W. Carlson

Quality measurement is a critical component of advancing a health system that pays for performance over volume. Although there has been significant attention paid to quality measurement within health systems in recent years, significant challenges to meaningful measurement of quality care outcomes remain. Defining cost can be challenging, but is arguably not as elusive as quality, which lacks standard measurement methods and units. To identify industry standards and recommendations for the future, NCCN recently hosted the NCCN Oncology Policy Summit: Defining, Measuring, and Applying Quality in an Evolving Health Policy Landscape and the Implications for Cancer Care. Key stakeholders including physicians, payers, policymakers, patient advocates, and technology partners reviewed current quality measurement programs to identify success and challenges, including the Oncology Care Model. Speakers and panelists identified gaps in quality measurement and provided insights and suggestions for further advancing quality measurement in oncology. This article provides insights and recommendations; however, the goal of this program was to highlight key issues and not to obtain consensus.

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Current Practices for Screening and Management of Financial Distress at NCCN Member Institutions

Nandita Khera, Jessica Sugalski, Diana Krause, Richard Butterfield III, Nan Zhang, F. Marc Stewart, Robert W. Carlson, Joan M. Griffin, S. Yousuf Zafar, and Stephanie J. Lee

Background: Financial distress from medical treatment is an increasing concern. Healthcare organizations may have different levels of organizational commitment, existing programs, and expected outcomes of screening and management of patient financial distress. Patients and Methods: In November 2018, representatives from 17 (63%) of the 27 existing NCCN Member Institutions completed an online survey. The survey focused on screening and management practices for patient financial distress, perceived barriers in implementation, and leadership attitudes about such practices. Due to the lack of a validated questionnaire in this area, survey questions were generated after a comprehensive literature search and discussions among the study team, including NCCN Best Practices Committee representatives. Results: Responses showed that 76% of centers routinely screened for financial distress, mostly with social worker assessment (94%), and that 56% screened patients multiple times. All centers offered programs to help with drug costs, meal or gas vouchers, and payment plans. Charity care was provided by 100% of the large centers (≥10,000 unique annual patients) but none of the small centers that responded (<10,000 unique annual patients; P=.008). Metrics to evaluate the impact of financial advocacy services included number of patients assisted, bad debt/charity write-offs, or patient satisfaction surveys. The effectiveness of institutional practices for screening and management of financial distress was reported as poor/very poor by 6% of respondents. Inadequate staffing and resources, limited budget, and lack of reimbursement were potential barriers in the provision of these services. A total of 94% agreed with the need for better integration of financial advocacy into oncology practice. Conclusions: Three-fourths of NCCN Member Institutions reported screening and management programs for financial distress, although the actual practices and range of services vary. Information from this study can help centers benchmark their performance relative to similar programs and identify best practices in this area.

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Predictors and Temporal Trends of Adjuvant Aromatase Inhibitor Use in Breast Cancer

Tiffany H. Svahn, Joyce C. Niland, Robert W. Carlson, Melissa E. Hughes, Rebecca A. Ottesen, Richard L. Theriault, Stephen B. Edge, Anne F. Schott, Michael A. Bookman, and Jane C. Weeks

After the first report of the ATAC (Arimidex, Tamoxifen, Alone or in Combination) trial, adjuvant aromatase inhibitor use increased rapidly among National Comprehensive Cancer Network member institutions. Increased aromatase inhibitor use was associated with older age, vascular disease, overexpression of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), or more advanced stage, and substantial variation was seen among institutions. This article examines adjuvant endocrine therapy in postmenopausal women after the first report of the trial, identifies temporal relationships in aromatase inhibitor use, and examines characteristics associated with choice of endocrine therapy among 4044 postmenopausal patients with hormone receptor–positive nonmetastatic breast cancer presenting from July 1997 to December 2004. Multivariable logistic regression analysis examined temporal associations and characteristics associated with aromatase inhibitor use. Time-trend analysis showed increased aromatase inhibitor and decreased tamoxifen use after release of ATAC results (P < .0001). In multivariable regression analysis, institution (P <. 0001), vascular disease (P <. 0001), age (P = .0002), stage (P = .0002), and HER2 status (P = .0009) independently predicted aromatase inhibitor use. Institutional rates of use ranged from 15% to 66%. Adjuvant aromatase inhibitor use increased after the first report of ATAC, with this increase associated with older age, vascular disease, overexpression of HER2, or more advanced stage. Substantial variation was seen among institutions.

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Policy Challenges and Opportunities to Address Changing Paradigms in Cancer Care Delivery

Katy Winckworth-Prejsnar, James McCanney, Alyssa A. Schatz, Warren Smedley, Leonidas C. Platanias, Cecil M. Benitez, Lee N. Newcomer, C. Lyn Fitzgerald, and Robert W. Carlson

Multiple factors are forcing the healthcare delivery system to change. A movement toward value-based payment models is shifting these systems to team-based integration and coordination of care for better efficiencies and outcomes. Workforce shortages are stressing access and quality of care for patients with cancer and survivors, and their families and caregivers. Innovative therapies are expensive, forcing payers and employers to prioritize resources. Patients are advocating for care models centered on their needs rather than those of providers. In response, payment policies have recently focused on the promotion of alternative payment models that incentivize coordinated, high-quality care with consideration for value and controlling the increasing overall costs associated with cancer and its treatment. Given the multitude of factors confounding cancer care, NCCN convened a multistakeholder working group to examine the challenges and opportunities presented by changing paradigms in cancer care delivery. The group identified key challenges and developed policy recommendations to address 4 high-visibility topics in cancer care delivery. The findings and recommendations were then presented at the NCCN Policy Summit: Policy Challenges and Opportunities to Address Changing Paradigms in Cancer Care Delivery in September 2018, and multistakeholder roundtable panel discussions explored these findings and recommendations along with additional items. This article encapsulates the discussion from the NCCN Working Group meetings and the NCCN Policy Summit, including multistakeholder policy recommendations on delivery issues in cancer care designed to help inform national policies moving forward.

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Value, Access, and Cost of Cancer Care Delivery at Academic Cancer Centers

Elizabeth A. Nardi, Julie A. Wolfson, Steven T. Rosen, Robert B. Diasio, Stanton L. Gerson, Barbara A. Parker, Joseph C. Alvarnas, Harlan A. Levine, Yuman Fong, Dennis D. Weisenburger, C. Lyn Fitzgerald, Maggie Egan, Sharon Stranford, Robert W. Carlson, and Edward J. Benz Jr

Key challenges facing the oncology community today include access to appropriate, high quality, patient-centered cancer care; defining and delivering high-value care; and rising costs. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network convened a Work Group composed of NCCN Member Institution cancer center directors and their delegates to examine the challenges of access, high costs, and defining and demonstrating value at the academic cancer centers. The group identified key challenges and possible solutions to addressing these issues. The findings and recommendations of the Work Group were then presented at the Value, Access, and Cost of Cancer Care Policy Summit in September 2015 and multi-stakeholder roundtable panel discussions explored these findings and recommendations along with additional items.

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Quality Measurement in Cancer Care: A Review and Endorsement of High-Impact Measures and Concepts

Thomas A. D’Amico, Lindsey A.M. Bandini, Alan Balch, Al B. Benson III, Stephen B. Edge, C. Lyn Fitzgerald, Robert J. Green, Wui-Jin Koh, Michael Kolodziej, Shaji Kumar, Neal J. Meropol, James L. Mohler, David Pfister, Ronald S. Walters, and Robert W. Carlson

Although oncology care has evolved, outcome assessment remains a key challenge. Outcome measurement requires identification and adoption of a succinct list of metrics indicative of high-quality cancer care for use within and across healthcare systems. NCCN established an advisory committee, the NCCN Quality and Outcomes Committee, consisting of provider experts from NCCN Member Institutions and other stakeholders, including payers and patient advocacy, community oncology, and health information technology representatives, to review the existing quality landscape and identify contemporary, relevant cancer quality and outcomes measures by reevaluating validated measures for endorsement and proposing new measure concepts to fill crucial gaps. This manuscript reports on 22 measures and concepts; 15 that align with existing measures and 7 that are new.

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NCCN Task Force Report: Adjuvant Therapy for Breast Cancer

Robert W. Carlson, Elizabeth Brown, Harold J. Burstein, William J. Gradishar, Clifford A. Hudis, Charles Loprinzi, Eleftherios Paul Mamounas, Edith A. Perez, Kathleen Pritchard, Peter Ravdin, Abram Recht, George Somlo, Richard L. Theriault, Eric P. Winer, Antonio C. Wolff, and for the NCCN Adjuvant Therapy for Breast Cancer Task Force

Abstract

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) first published the NCCN Breast Cancer Treatment Guidelines in 1996. The Guidelines address the treatment of all stages of breast cancer across the spectrum of patient care and have been updated yearly. Adjuvant therapy for breast cancer has undergone an especially rapid evolution over the past few years. Therefore, the NCCN Breast Cancer Guidelines Panel was supplemented by additional experts to form the Adjuvant Therapy Task Force to provide a forum for an extended discussion and expanded input to the adjuvant therapy recommendations for the Breast Cancer Treatment Guidelines. Issues discussed included methods of risk-stratification for recurrence; how biologic markers such as HER2 status, quantitative estrogen receptor, or genetic markers can be incorporated as prognostic or predictive factors; and how age, menopausal status, and estrogen receptor levels impact benefits from chemotherapy and endocrine therapy. Additionally, the task force discussed the strategies for use of aromatase inhibitors in postmenopausal women and the potential incorporation of trastuzumab into adjuvant therapy of women with HER2/neu positive breast cancer. This supplement summarizes the background data and ensuing discussion from the Adjvuant Task Force meeting. (JNCCN 2006;4[suppl 1]:S-1–S-26)

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NCCN Task Force Report: Estrogen Receptor and Progesterone Receptor Testing in Breast Cancer by Immunohistochemistry

D. Craig Allred, Robert W. Carlson, Donald A. Berry, Harold J. Burstein, Stephen B. Edge, Lori J. Goldstein, Allen Gown, M. Elizabeth Hammond, James Dirk Iglehart, Susan Moench, Lori J. Pierce, Peter Ravdin, Stuart J. Schnitt, and Antonio C. Wolff

The NCCN Task Force on Estrogen Receptor and Progesterone Receptor Testing in Breast Cancer by Immunohistochemistry was convened to critically evaluate the extent to which the presence of the estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PgR) biomarkers in breast cancer serve as prognostic and predictive factors in the adjuvant and metastatic settings, and the ability of immunohistochemical (IHC) detection of ER and PgR to provide an accurate assessment of the expression of these biomarkers in breast cancer tumor tissue. The task force is a multidisciplinary panel of 13 experts in breast cancer who are affiliated with NCCN member institutions and represent the disciplines of pathology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, and biostatistics. The main overall conclusions of the task force are ER is a strong predictor of response to endocrine therapy; ER status of all samples of invasive breast cancer or ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) should be evaluated by IHC; IHC measurements of PgR, although not as important clinically as ER, can provide useful information and should also be performed on all samples of invasive breast cancer or DCIS; IHC is the main testing strategy for evaluating ER and PgR in breast cancer and priority should be given to improve the quality of IHC testing methodologies; all laboratories performing IHC assays of ER and PgR should undertake formal validation studies to show both technical and clinical validation of the assay in use; and all laboratories performing IHC assays of hormone receptors in breast cancer should follow additional quality control and assurance measures as outlined in the upcoming guidelines from the American Society of Clinical Oncology and College of American Pathologists.

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Invasive Breast Cancer

Robert W. Carlson, D. Craig Allred, Benjamin O. Anderson, Harold J. Burstein, W. Bradford Carter, Stephen B. Edge, John K. Erban, William B. Farrar, Andres Forero, Sharon Hermes Giordano, Lori J. Goldstein, William J. Gradishar, Daniel F. Hayes, Clifford A. Hudis, Britt-Marie Ljung, David A. Mankoff, P. Kelly Marcom, Ingrid A. Mayer, Beryl McCormick, Lori J. Pierce, Elizabeth C. Reed, Jasgit Sachdev, Mary Lou Smith, George Somlo, John H. Ward, Antonio C. Wolff, and Richard Zellars

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Breast Cancer

Robert W. Carlson, D. Craig Allred, Benjamin O. Anderson, Harold J. Burstein, W. Bradford Carter, Stephen B. Edge, John K. Erban, William B. Farrar, Lori J. Goldstein, William J. Gradishar, Daniel F. Hayes, Clifford A. Hudis, Mohammad Jahanzeb, Krystyna Kiel, Britt-Marie Ljung, P. Kelly Marcom, Ingrid A. Mayer, Beryl McCormick, Lisle M. Nabell, Lori J. Pierce, Elizabeth C. Reed, Mary Lou Smith, George Somlo, Richard L. Theriault, Neal S. Topham, John H. Ward, Eric P. Winer, and Antonio C. Wolff