Integrated Data and Processes Key to Improving Patient Care and Reducing Administrative Burden

August 22, 2019

ASCO submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in response to the agency’s Request for Information (RFI) on Patients over Paperwork. ASCO’s comments provide the society’s perspective on improving the delivery of cancer care in a way that is beneficial for people with cancer and oncology professionals.

“CMS plays a key role in advancing health care policies that lead to high-quality, high-value care for millions of patients receiving care through the Medicare and Medicaid programs as well as those enrolled in exchange plans under the Affordable Care Act,” said ASCO President Howard A. “Skip” Burris III, MD, FACP, FASCO. “It is important that the agency take the necessary steps to alleviate regulations and mandates which impede innovation, increase costs, and prevent the delivery of better care to enrollees in those programs.”

ASCO’s comments offer suggestions in specific areas, including, but not limited to: 

  • Prior Authorization – CMS should help patients avoid potentially harmful outcomes by standardizing processes and forms and integrating prior authorization processes into electronic medical records (EMRs).
  • High-Quality Clinical Pathways – ASCO has long urged the Medicare program to adopt high-quality, value-based pathways to ensure the highest quality and most appropriate care for Medicare beneficiaries with cancer.
  • Alternative Payment Models (APMs) – ASCO’s comments suggest refinements to the Quality Payment Program and the Oncology Care Model, such as the creation of a multi-step process for practices to transition to and engage in advanced alternative payment models, and small-scale testing of multiple oncology-focused APMs. The society also urges CMS to adopt ASCO’s Patient-Centered Oncology Payment (PCOP) model as an additional APM for oncology providers.
  • Small and Rural Practice Settings – ASCO also encourages CMS to work with specialty societies to explore ways for small and rural practices to participate in, and enhance, innovation in cancer care delivery. It is likely that any strategies that will improve rural cancer care could also improve cancer care delivery more broadly
  • Interoperability – ASCO believes that greater interoperability will improve the quality of cancer care delivery, and that a key need to achieve such improvement is a shared set of data to be used to exchange information between patients and providers. “Minimal Common Oncology Data Elements” (mCODE™)—a consensus-developed set of minimum oncology data elements necessary for such information exchanges—was developed by ASCO and other stakeholders to improve interoperability and the quality of care that people with cancer receive.  

Read the full comment letter.

Visit ASCO in Action for updates on these issues and other cancer policy priorities.