ACCC 2016 Annual Meeting: Five Key Takeaways

In March 2016, nearly 500 oncology professionals gathered in Washington, DC, for the 42nd ACCC Annual Meeting, CANCERSCAPE. Throughout sessions centered on policy, value, and quality, attendees heard a recurrent message: your experience, perspective, and input on the issues of value-based care, quality measures, and outcomes are essential as the healthcare system and oncol­ogy transition to the new world of alternative payment models and value-based care.

From ACCC Capitol Hill Day throughout the meeting sessions, attendees were urged to educate policymakers and payers about the real-world processes involved in delivering quality cancer care.

In the meeting’s opening session, Congressman Rick Nolan (MN-D) called out the vital role ACCC members can play in helping educate legislators and policymakers, “No one can articulate need, challenges, potential to ultimately cure cancer [better] than the people in this room today,” he said.

Can precision medicine be reconciled with value-based care? “Absolutely” said Kavita Patel, MD, MS, of the Brookings Institution. Oncology already delivers personalized (or precision) medicine through targeted therapies for some cancers, she pointed out. Communicating about the oncology care process so that policymakers understand real-world cancer care delivery is imperative, Patel said. Part of that conversation should aim to help policymakers understand the demanding intuitive thought process that is part of today’s oncology care, along with the tremendous amount of information cancer care providers must keep up with given the pace and variety of emerging therapies. “It’s not writing prescriptions,” she said.

Five Key CANCERSCAPE Takeaways

High-level meeting takeaways that interconnect value, policy, and quality include:

  1. Alignment
    For value and quality measures to work in oncology, alignment among payers, providers, and patients is essential.
  2. Put your data to work
    Cancer programs and practices are finding ways to harness their data to improve quality patient-centered care and reduce costs. In a presentation on Collaboration Across Specialties to Improve Care and Curb Costs, Matthew Manning, MD, from Cone Health demonstrated how his program used data to identify “hotspotters,” assess gaps in care, improve outcomes, and reduce costs.
  3. Communicate
    Support conversations across silos and among stakeholders. Engage with patients to understand their goals of care and to define value and quality. While value frameworks are generic, “all patients are different” agreed panelists in a Town Hall discussion on Value Framework Tools.
  4. Be proactive
    Don’t wait until USP Chapter 800 goes into effect to assess your facility’s readiness. Don’t wait until HRSA issues its final 340B mega-regulation. Take steps today to assess your program’s compliance. “Be prepared” was also the message in a Biosimilars Update from Nisha Pherwani, PharmD, BCOP, clinical director of Oncology, Cardinal Health. She urged attendees to:
    • Understand the FDA approval process for biosimilars
    • Provide a concise review to your P&T committee
    • Review the FDA guidances on biosimilars
    • Stay tuned for more on how interchangeability will impact regulations.
  5. Speak up
    Oncology providers can best articulate the care they provide and the issues impacting care delivery. Leadership in oncology has to step forward to help define quality and value and inform policy. Work with ACCC to make your voice heard.
In early March, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its proposed Medicare Part B Drug Payment Model rule that is designed to test new approaches to how Medicare pays for Part B drugs. This proposal is a powerful reminder of the critical need for the oncology community to stay on top of what is happening among policymakers in Washington, DC.

ACCC has voiced strong opposition to CMS’s proposal and remains deeply concerned that this proposed model will place undue burdens on both patients and providers, and significantly hamper providers’ ability to provide critical cancer care services in their communities. ACCC will be submitting comments to CMS and urges members to contact ACCC Director of Health Policy, Leah Ralph, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with questions or concerns.

Adapted from an ACCCBuzz blog post. Used with permission of the Association of Community Cancer Centers.

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