Community oncology in an era of payment reform

John V. Cox, Jeffery C. Ward, John C. Hornberger, Jennifer S. Temel, Barbara L. McAneny

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Patients and payers (government and private) are frustrated with the fee-for-service system (FFS) of payment for outpatient health services. FFS rewards volume and highly valued services, including expensive diagnostics and therapeutics, over lesser valued cognitive services. Proposed payment schemes would incent collaboration and coordination of care among providers and reward quality. In oncology, new payment schemes must address the high costs of all services, particularly drugs, while preserving the robust distribution of sites of service available to patients in the United States. Information technology and personalized cancer care are changing the practice of oncology. Twenty-first century oncology will require increasing cognitive work and shared decision making, both of which are not well regarded in the FFS model. A high proportion of health care dollars are consumed in the final months of life. Effective delivery of palliative and end-of-life care must be addressed by practice and by new models of payment. Value-based reimbursement schemes will require oncology practices to change how they are structured. Lessons drawn from the principles of primary care's Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) will help oncology practice to prepare for new schemes. PCMH principles place a premium on proactively addressing toxicities of therapies, coordinating care with other providers, and engaging patients in shared decision making, supporting the ideal of value defined in the triple aim-to measurably improve patient experience and quality of care at less cost. Payment reform will be disruptive to all. Oncology must be engaged in policy discussions and guide rational shifts in priorities defined by new payment models.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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