ASCO Emphasizes Quality Improvement, Stability in House SGR Comments

Posted June 18, 2013

Responding to a request from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, ASCO recently submitted recommendations on draft legislation that would repeal of the sustainable growth rate formula.

Echoing its comments submitted to the Senate, ASCO emphasized the need for a robust quality improvement and measurement infrastructure that underpins any Medicare reimbursement reform. ASCO believes it is “imperative that providers, practices and institutions receive quality feedback that is timely and actionable; otherwise, quality reporting is purely an administrative exercise.” Furthermore, ASCO notes that a meaningful quality improvement and measurement should be integrated into any quality-based payment system.

The Society emphasized the role of professional organizations, as many of them offer clinical registries or quality improvement and education programs uniquely tailored to a provider’s specialty.  ASCO underscored its many clinical improvement activities including the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®), quality training program and treatment summaries.

In addition, ASCO stressed the need for a 3-5 year period of stability for any new payment system. “The practice changes and preparation that proposed reform requires are of a magnitude that will require substantial practice shifts for most oncology practices,” ASCO comments noted.

While some physicians may transition to new payment models before five years, others will need to enhance quality measurement and care coordination activities and make a significant investment in infrastructure and information technology systems to adapt to the new environment.