As discussed throughout the oncology community over the last year, the future of healthcare lies in technology and data. Though these tools often come at an extra cost to cancer programs and practices, they can enhance care delivery for providers and patients alike. In response, the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) developed tools, resources, and education programs to help oncology professionals access and implement technology- and data-driven solutions for more equitable cancer care.
Dr. David R. Penberthy, MD, MBA, a radiation oncologist, was named ACCC President on March 4, 2022. He selected "Leveraging Technology to Transform Cancer Care Delivery and the Patient Experience" as his President’s Theme, with several goals including, leveraging data and digital tools to reduce health disparities; using technology to help mitigate workforce shortages and improve care efficiency; advocating for equitable access to technology innovations and adequate reimbursement for their application; and convening technology-driven change makers to share solutions and envision the future state of oncology. Keeping the patient experience front of mind, key deliverables were:
Cancer care team members and industry convened for a one-day, in-person event to discuss what cancer care might look like in 2040. Key stakeholders from Google Health, MedFluencers, and Mayo Clinic Innovation Exchange shared provider and industry perspectives, while a blogger and advocate brought to light issues affecting patients and families.
ACCCBuzz covered a range of topics to help cancer programs and practices optimize care delivery and further develop hospital-at-home programs. Additional insights were shared about how technology can mitigate social determinants of health, machine learning’s role in healthcare, as well as best practices to protect from cyberattacks.
This education program launched in April 2022 to illuminate the clinical practice landscape of digital technologies for patient monitoring and patent-reported outcomes (PROs) collection. This program is establishing a Phase II and quality improvement intervention to measure the impact of wearable technologies and PROs on patient outcomes and quality of life.
ACCC’s peer-reviewed journal Oncology Issues covered Huntsman Cancer Institute’s Huntsman at Home™ model for delivering hospital-level care at home to acutely ill patients with cancer, AC3’s business intelligence software that provides data analytics solutions for streamlining revenue cycle management, remote patient monitoring of patients on immunotherapy, and more.
On February 2, 2022, President Biden announced his administration’s plan to revamp the Cancer Moonshot program, with a goal of reducing the cancer death rate by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years. To help in this effort, ACCC made available to the White House resources and tools from its member programs, with a specific focus on cancer prevention and early detection for underserved and marginalized patient populations. Further, in support of President Biden’s appointment of Dr. Renee Wegrzyn as director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), ACCC President-Elect Dr. Olalekan Ajayi, PharmD, MBA, attended the announcement at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum to represent the association and his member cancer program—Highlands Oncology Group, PA.
ACCC and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) jointly released resources in 2022 to help oncology research sites increase racial and ethnic diversity, equity, and inclusion in cancer clinical trials. Access the ASCO-ACCC research statement; research site self-assessment; Just ASK™ Training Program; and Just ASK™ training facilitation guide to support health equity efforts in cancer clinical trials. Plus, more information is available on the self-assessment and training program feasibility.
In 2022, ACCC established the Appalachian Community Cancer Alliance, seeking to provide the Appalachian region with interdisciplinary, patient-centered approaches to cancer care with an emphasis on enhanced quality of life. The goal of this alliance, which includes several ACCC oncology state societies, is to develop proven and practical solutions for improving the entire cancer care continuum in the region and all underserved areas across the nation.
In partnership with LUNGevity, ACCC launched its Rural Appalachian Lung Cancer Screening Initiative—an initiative of the Appalachian Community Cancer Alliance—with a goal of increasing lung cancer screenings in the region. This initiative, along with ACCC, has been recognized by the White House as one of five private sector actions in response to the renewed Cancer Moonshot goal of bringing cancer screenings to more communities.
As part of the ACCC Community Oncology Research Institute (ACORI), ACCC conducted a national survey to better understand how members engage in research, including barriers to clinical trial implementation and patient recruitment and the tools or resources needed to support cancer programs and practices. A summary publication is planned for mid-2023. Additionally, a resource library—building from the 2021 virtual summit—is available to any research team member.
ACCC recognized three distinguished oncology professionals during its 39th National Oncology Conference (#ACCCNOC) on October 14—Dr. Fashoyin-Aje, Dr. Guerra, and Leanna Chien—whose contributions in practice, research, and leadership have greatly advanced health equity.
Lola A. Fashoyin-Aje, MD, MPH, is a medical oncologist and deputy director of the Division of Oncology 3, Office of Oncologic Diseases at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. She was presented the ACCC Annual Achievement Award for her work in ensuring that the development of new clinical drugs is applied to diverse populations.
Carmen Guerra, MD, MSCE, FACP, is the Ruth C. and Raymond G. Perelman professor of medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She received the ACCC Clinical Research Award for her research on developing and evaluating interventions to increase the participation of underserved populations in cancer screening and clinical trials.
Leana Chien, MSN, RN, GCNS-BC, GNP-BC, is a nurse practitioner at the City of Hope Center for Cancer and Aging. She was presented the David King Community Clinical Scientist Award for her work in implementing a comprehensive geriatric assessment into practice and improving the care of older adults with cancer.
Since the 2021 launch of its "Transforming Complex to Clear" campaign, ACCC has brought precision medicine into focus by developing clear and actionable education, resources, and tools. While this campaign is dedicated to precision medicine, it is emblematic of the association’s approach to every one of its education programs. Each year, ACCC assesses its members’ needs to develop thoughtful, informed, and expert-driven educational tools and resources for the multidisciplinary care team.
Cancer diagnostics has become the driver for innovation and development in cancer programs and practices nationwide. Therefore, this change prompted ACCC to expand its education programs and resources for the multidisciplinary team members in this space. Targeted focus areas include biomarker testing (such as the release of a biomarker testing and process improvement toolkit), multi-cancer early detection, and measurable residual disease testing.
ACCC released findings from a national, multi-phase care coordination and quality improvement program, with a special LinkedIn live event held in conjunction with World Lung Cancer Day. In addition, ACCC collaborated with three member programs to develop interventions to promote biomarker testing in underserved communities and shared insights on patient perceptions of biomarker testing and a mixed-method approach to understanding biomarker testing in non-small cell lung cancer.
ACCC brought together select cancer care teams to pilot evidence-based geriatric best practice interventions in the care of patients 65 years and above. The 4Ms (What Matters, Medication, Mentation, and Mobility) identify core issues that should drive all care and decision making for these patients. The Age-Friendly Health System's education program allows providers to practice the 4Ms by organizing care and focusing on the older adult’s wellness and strengths, rather than solely on their disease.
To better facilitate education around and adoption of new clinical and technological advancements in the diagnosis, staging, and treatment of cancer, ACCC developed a comprehensive resource library. The Oncology Practice Transformation and Integration Center (OPTIC) Resource Library offers tools and resources for the multidisciplinary cancer care team to support the adoption of innovations, emerging practices, and/or established guidelines in oncology across its many disciplines.
ACCC examined the barriers the multidisciplinary cancer care team faces when engaging patients in treatment and surveillance for bladder cancer and developed operational tools for oncology providers to implement changes in their cancer program or practice and communities. ACCC’s bladder practice spotlights provide real-world examples of effective practices in screening and identification of patients with bladder cancer, as well as strategies for delivering quality care to underserved populations.
The optimal management of immune-related adverse events often requires expertise outside oncology, making it particularly challenging for community practitioners to identify and access specialists who can provide guidance. To address this growing need, ACCC launched Project ECHO®: Tele-mentoring to Manage Immune-related Adverse Events in Patients Receiving Cancer Immunotherapies, where community clinicians can participate in mentoring opportunities with a virtual team of toxicity management and assessment specialists.
The last year brought a whirlwind of new priorities for the multidisciplinary cancer care team, as oncology programs and practices across the U.S. grappled with the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic—resulting in workforce- and care delivery-related needs. To address these needs ACCC helped its members with:
The ACCC Oncology Workforce Subcommittee launched a Mini Z burnout survey in 2022 to collect data from nurse practitioners, physicians, administrators, social workers/financial advocates, and more. ACCC then compared current trends to 2019 survey data (see heat map below). In summary, cancer program administrators and leaders experienced "no change" in burnout levels, while all other groups saw higher levels of "worsening" burnout (with minimal improvement in some categories).
ACCC was in West Palm Beach, Fla., on October 12 to 14, 2022, for the ACCC 39th National Oncology Conference. Multidisciplinary cancer care team and industry members sat in on sessions that addressed workforce-related issues, including how to prepare for population health, navigate the Great Resignation, identify and bring up future leaders, enhance the role of the pharmacist, and create an intentional staff support program.
The ACCC 48th Annual Meeting & Cancer Center Business Summit (AMCCBS) offered a dynamic set of sessions to attendees both in-person and via live video streaming. Topics ranged from how to navigate the constantly shifting cancer care landscape and addressing costs of care to evaluating the impact of the cancer service line, understanding the benefits of an early mobility program, and mastering prior authorizations.
In 2022, ACCC celebrated 5 Innovator Award winners, who shared their strategies on how to embed primary care in oncology, deploy technology to improve oral oncolytic compliance, expedite treatment through a cancer diagnostic clinic, address social determinants of health through a medical-legal partnership, and implement remote patient monitoring to reduce healthcare costs through blog posts, meeting sessions, podcasts, and journal articles.
ACCC hosted its 2022 ACCC Oncology Reimbursement Meetings in person for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. Subject matter experts shared perspectives on developing comprehensive financial navigation programs, assisting patients in affording healthcare costs, optimizing revenue cycle management, and more. Virtual webinars also ensured ACCC members were prepared for the calendar year 2023 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) and Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS) final rules.
ACCC empowers cancer care professionals to better understand federal and state policies impacting the field of oncology and patients with cancer. The association also provides many opportunities to partake in federal, state, and local advocacy.
In June, ACCC hosted its Virtual Hill Day, where a diverse group of multidisciplinary cancer care members and leaders from across the country met with elected officials from the comfort of their home or office. ACCC members from 14 states attended more than 40 virtual meetings with U.S. House and Senate offices, sharing the challenges they and their patients routinely face to help improve the future of cancer care delivery through federal legislation.
This ACCC resource enables its members to advocate for the passage of federal legislation that impacts their patients and cancer program or practice by sending support letters directly to members of Congress. Since its formal launch in August 2022, ACCC members have sent nearly 400 letters to their elected officials on topics like access to telehealth, provider reimbursement, prior authorization reform, and clinical trial diversity and inclusion.
To advocate on behalf of ACCC members and prepare them for upcoming reimbursement changes, ACCC submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in response to the calendar year 2023 MPFS and HOPPS proposed rules and hosted a webinar summarizing these proposed changes. Following the publication of the MPFS and HOPPS final rules, ACCC published a member-exclusive resource that summarizes the finalized coding and billing changes for 2023.
With the announcement of a brand-new Medicare alternative payment model to replace the Oncology Care Model, ACCC and Alternative Payment Models Coalition members set out to understand, prepare for, and educate others on the new model, which is set to commence in July 2023. ACCC authored a blog post comparing the EOM to its predecessor, provided press statements, and conducted a focus group with CMS Innovation Center staff.
As health plans increasingly restrict provider and patient options in deciding where patients can receive care, how anti-cancer drugs can be dispensed, and which drugs will ultimately be covered, ACCC published a set of principles to preserve provider and patient choice in the treatment of cancer. To improve the accessibility and affordability of therapeutic options for patients, while maintaining clinical quality and safety standards, ACCC recommends that policymakers consider these guiding principles.
Throughout the year, ACCC authored and signed onto a number of advocacy letters—alongside many other professional associations and patient advocacy organizations—in support of policies to enhance cancer care delivery, within the oncology community and beyond. By partnering with other advocacy groups, ACCC advocated on a wide range of issues, including coverage for multi-cancer early detection tests, access to clinical trials, affordable healthcare coverage, and prescription drug pricing reform.
ACCC shared the voices of its multidisciplinary membership and brought to light the challenges cancer programs and practices faced throughout 2022. Through blog posts, feature articles, as well as audio and video podcasts, ACCC members offered their perspective on oncology care delivery, including solutions to barriers and innovations in action—ultimately providing how-to’s for achieving comprehensive, equitable, and high-quality cancer care.
As one of the only non-clinical, operational journals covering cancer, ACCC’s peer-reviewed journal addresses issues of interest to all members of the multidisciplinary cancer care team. In 2022, the journal featured articles on introducing psychological first aid in the COVID-19 era, improving the culture of your cancer program or practice, integrating advanced practice providers (APPs) in radiation oncology, and bridging the sexual health communication gap, and improving cancer care teamwork, among others.
ACCC’s blog provides its members the latest news and policy updates affecting U.S. healthcare and oncology and hematology, while offering a how-to perspective in cancer care delivery, operations, and so much more. Popular blog posts in 2022 examined how one oncology practice took action to improve equitable cancer care delivery at the local level, the Enhancing Oncology Model, state legislation requiring coverage of biomarker testing, and the financial toxicity burden among patients with cancer.
ACCC’s top podcast/vodcast episodes in 2022 included the launch of the digital Patient Assistance & Reimbursement Guide, discussions on liquid biopsy in cancer detection, and expansion of APPs’ role in care delivery. In celebration of its 100th podcast episode, ACCC spoke with ACCC Board Member and Treasurer Dr. Nadine Barrett about her journey with the association and how it is uniquely positioned to educate its members and support efforts to provide equitable cancer care.
In building on previous presidents’ themes, ACCC Incoming President Olalekan Ajayi, PharmD, MBA, chief operating officer at Highlands Oncology Group, PA, is dedicating his to the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Dr. Ajayi’s 2023-2024 President’s Theme—"(Re)Building an Equitable Cancer Care Community"—will assist the cancer care team in addressing workforce diversification, developing the next generation of oncology leaders, and (re)building from the pandemic a more equitable system for patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals by reducing systemic racism, addressing social determinants of health, and tailoring outreach efforts and resources to their community’s needs.
The ACCC Financial Advocacy Network dedicated much of 2022 to updating its 2018 Financial Advocacy Services Guidelines. Following a Delphi process, these consensus-based and inclusive guidelines will support cancer programs and practices in determining what critical services should be offered, including implementation considerations from subject matter experts, to all patients with cancer. The final guidelines will be released in 2023.
ACCC will convene experts who manage patients with cervical, ovarian, and/or endometrial cancers to garner insight into challenges faced by these patients, discuss solutions for improved management, and develop actionable plans to provide better care delivery. One ACCC education program will identify multidisciplinary team approaches to address patients’ needs, highlight social determinants of health factors, and create education to address financial and social barriers to care.
The ACCC Immuno-Oncology Institute will bring members the latest updates in chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies, including a series of articles and webinars that will explore how to optimize care coordination, patient identification, and reimbursement; successful program models; and a CAR T-cell therapy readiness self-assessment guide. In connection with its Immuno-Oncology Insights Series, ACCCBuzz will feature subspeciality insights by clinical experts across key practice topics in 2023.
There is an ever-increasing awareness of the need to screen patients for a broad array of social determinants of health in care delivery. One ACCC education program aims to promote equitable access to care and diversification of clinical trials by developing resources to identify and address the impacts these factors have on patients. ACCC also intends to develop a screening tool and resource center to support improved patient care.
ACCC is currently conducting a nationwide initiative across various care settings to provide guidance to multidisciplinary cancer care teams on issues related to providing optimal care for patients with early-stage IB/IIIA non-small cell lung cancer. In 2023, look for key quality care recommendations, webinars, podcasts, and other resources that will address the value of biomarker testing, gaps in care coordination, and effective practices for caring for this patient population.
Gain the most from your ACCC membership by getting involved! You have a valuable forum to collaborate and learn from your colleagues nationwide, showcase your cancer program or practice’s successes, and foster leadership opportunities. Not a member? Learn how you can benefit from ACCC’s unique multidisciplinary perspective.
ACCCeXchange—a members-only discussion forum—offers multidisciplinary perspectives on emergent issues. No matter your role, you can find answers to your questions and share your experiences. With additional subgroups for financial advocacy and oncology research, find support and guidance for any of the challenges you face.
ACCC has targeted educational content based on your professional interests. Receive personalized outreach by updating your areas of concentration, mailing preferences, job title, and credentials via your ACCC website profile. You must have an ACCC profile to register for live and virtual events and participate in conversations on ACCCeXchange.
Looking for opportunities for professional growth and resources for process and quality improvement? ACCC offers guidance, best practices, and accredited resources and events. Look at our upcoming calendar of events and eLearning catalog to find what is right for you, including on-demand webinars and continuing education programs.
ACCC relies on its most valuable resource—its members—to provide insights on comprehensive cancer care delivery. Many volunteer opportunities are available. Just let ACCC know of your professional interests via a simple contact form, and you will be matched with a group appropriately.
Do you know someone whose outstanding work in cancer care or research is worthy of recognition? Or have you or a colleague spearheaded a program that is innovating care delivery at your cancer program or practice? Nominations for the 2023 ACCC Annual Awards will open at the end of March 2023.
ACCC is proud to offer its members the chance to get involved with its various content outlets. Contact ACCC if you or a colleague are interested in submitting an article to Oncology Issues, authoring a blog for ACCCBuzz, or serving as a guest on CANCER BUZZ or CANCER BUZZ TV.
David R. Penberthy, MD, MBA
Olalekan Ajayi, PharmD, MBA
Krista Nelson, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW
Immediate Past President
Nadine Barrett, PhD, MA, MS
Una Hopkins, RN, FNP-BC, DNP
Robert R. Buras, MD
Jorge García, PharmD, MS, MHA, MBA, FACHE
Pablo Gutman, MD, MBA
Ginah Nightingale, PharmD, BCOP
Lailea Noel, PhD, MSW
Leigha Senter-Jamieson, MS, CGC
David Spigel, MD
Wendi Waugh, BS, RT(R)(T), CMD, CTR
ACCC manages and collaborates very closely with the Oncology State Societies at ACCC—a network of 23 state-based oncology/hematology societies that represent the educational and advocacy interests of their members at the state and regional level. These individuals receive select member benefits from ACCC, participate on the ASCO State Affiliate Council, and have access to targeted educational resources to keep abreast of the ever-changing healthcare landscape.