Representatives Urge CMS to Support Specialty ACOs

Today, an influential group of House Representatives led by Congressmen Joe Crowley (D-NY), Mike Rogers (R-MI), and Anna Eshoo (D-CA) sent a letter sent to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Director Donald Berwick urging CMS to issue regulatory rules allowing specialists to form Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).

The health reform bill (the Affordable Care Act or ACA) includes language that would allow for oncologists who are providing significant primary care services to Medicare patients to establish ACOs. The ACO shared savings concept is designed to realign incentives for caregivers who join together to develop models of care centered around the provision of quality outcomes for groups of patients.

As a network of caregivers with a history of innovation including Level I Pathways, patient navigation, and cancer care planning driven by health information technology (health IT), the United Network of US Oncology is uniquely positioned to lead in the development of ACOs. For this reason, US Oncology strongly supported the inclusion of specialty-specific ACOs in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Innovent Oncology brings together physicians, patients, health plans and employers to address the top oncology cost drivers with a similar collaborative and integrated model of care. A study in the Journal of Oncology Practice published early in 2010 showed that US Oncology's Level I Pathways program can produce significant savings (35 percent) while maintaining the highest quality care for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

US Oncology looks forward to continuing our work with Congress and CMS to ensure that oncologists play an integral role in the development of ACOs within the Medicare program.

To read the letter sent to CMS click here.

To read the US Oncology one-pager on ACOs click here.

Click here to read the Journal of Oncology Practice study.


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