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ASCO Responds to Proposed ACO Rules

Jun 22, 2011

In June, ASCO responded to proposed regulations on Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in late March. ASCO shared the following recommendations to ensure that the new delivery models established by CMS provide high-quality, high-value care to patients with cancer.

  1. A Cancer-specific Measurement System: CMS should require the use of the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) as the primary mode of measuring quality and demonstrating the provision of evidencebased medicine in cancer care.
  2. Oncology-specific Delivery Models: CMS should allow for the voluntary establishment of ACOs that focus exclusively on the treatment of patients with cancer.
  3. Unfettered Access to Oncologists through Multiple ACOs: CMS should prohibit ACOs from establishing policies or contract terms that limit the ability of community-based oncologists to join or collaborate with multiple ACOs.
  4. Patient Access to Cancer Care through Clinical Trials: CMS should take steps to ensure that ACOs do not discourage participation in clinical trials.
  5. Financial Risk and Administrative Burdens: ACOs and other new health care delivery models should not expose oncology specialists to unreasonable financial risk and administrative burdens.
  6. Consideration for the Needs of Patients with Cancer: Oncologists should play prominent roles in setting any standards and policies for ACOs that provide services to patients with cancer.
  7. Safeguards through Communications with ACO Patients with Cancer: Medicare beneficiaries with cancer who are receiving treatment from physicians in ACOs must be informed of providers’ participation in ACOs and encouraged to share concerns with CMS.
  8. Perverse Drug Utilization Incentives: CMS should address perverse incentives that will arise due to the proposed rule’s exclusion of Part D drugs from the costs by which ACO savings are measured.

A final ACO Rule is expected this fall. Visit asco.org/ascoaction to read the full comments.

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