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Practice Matters

News from Lola Butcher about health policy and practice management issues of importance to oncologists

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

First cancer-specific ACO launches

The best business model for oncology care is not yet obvious to me. But it is crystal clear that innovative  new models are being hatched before our eyes: First, the oncology medical home and now, the cancer-specific accountable care organization.

As reported in OT last year, The US Oncology Network had hoped that the federal government would allow cancer-specific ACOs. That idea did not fly. But US Oncology was apparently undaunted: One of its affiliates has announced its own ACO in conjunction with a private insurer and a big health system.


Advanced Medical Specialties, a US Oncology affiliate in Miami, has teamed with Florida Blue (the state’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield company) and Baptist Health South Florida to launch the new ACO.


“Our focus has been on evidence-based treatment regimens, advance care planning, and the avoidance of unnecessary ER visits and hospital admissions. Our collaboration with two health care leaders, Florida Blue and Baptist Health, will spur innovation that will lead to better-coordinated, more cost-effective care of our patients with cancer,” Leonard Kalman, MD, Chairman of Advanced Medical Specialties, said in a news release.


Everybody interested in cancer care should be watching this closely to see whether it works as intended.  Note several terms and concepts—“evidence-based treatment,” “advance care planning,” “unnecessary ER visits and hospital admissions,” “better-coordinated,” and “cost-effective care”—describe both the oncology medical home and the cancer-specific ACO models.


Oncologists and practice managers, you are on notice. If you can’t embrace those concepts in your practice, take cover now.