The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a transformational event for health care in the United States, with multiple impacts on health care, the economy, and society. Oncologists and other health care providers are already experiencing many changes—direct and indirect, anticipated and unanticipated. A distinguished and diverse panel assembled at the NCCN 19th Annual Conference to discuss the early phase of implementation of the ACA. The roundtable touched on early successes and stumbling blocks; the impact of the ACA on contemporary oncology practice and the new risk pool facing providers, payers, and patients; and some of the current and future challenges that lie ahead for all.
Christian G. Downs, Liz Fowler, Michael Kolodziej, Lee H. Newcomer, Mohammed S. Ogaily, W. Thomas Purcell, John C. Winkelmann, and Clifford Goodman
Stanton L. Gerson, Kate Shaw, Louis B. Harrison, Randall F. Holcombe, Laura Hutchins, Carrie B. Lee, Patrick J. Loehrer Sr, Daniel Mulkerin, W. Thomas Purcell, Lois Teston, Louis M. Weiner, and George J. Weiner
Background: Cancer care coordination across major academic medical centers and their networks is evolving rapidly, but the spectrum of organizational efforts has not been described. We conducted a mixed-methods survey of leading cancer centers and their networks to document care coordination and identify opportunities to improve geographically dispersed care. Methods: A mixed-methods survey was sent to 91 cancer centers in the United States and Canada. We analyzed the number and locations of network sites; access to electronic medical records (EMRs); clinical research support and participation at networks; use of patient navigators, care paths, and quality measures; and physician workforce. Responses were collected via Qualtrics software between September 2017 and December 2018. Results: Of the 69 responding cancer centers, 74% were NCI-designated. Eighty-seven percent of respondents were part of a matrix health system, and 13% were freestanding. Fifty-six reported having network sites. Forty-three respondents use navigators for disease-specific populations, and 24 use them for all patients. Thirty-five respondents use ≥1 types of care path. Fifty-seven percent of networks had complete, integrated access to their main center’s EMRs. Thirty-nine respondents said the main center provides funding for clinical research at networks, with 22 reporting the main center provides all funding. Thirty-five said the main center provided pharmacy support at the networks, with 15 indicating the main center provides 100% pharmacy support. Certification program participation varied extensively across networks. Conclusions: The data show academic cancer centers have extensive involvement in network cancer care, often extending into rural communities. Coordinating care through improved clinical trial access and greater use of patient navigation, care paths, coordinated EMRs, and quality measures is likely to improve patient outcomes. Although it is premature to draw firm conclusions, the survey results are appropriate for mapping next steps and data queries.