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Oncology Pharmacy

As oncology engages in value-based reimbursement, new payment models, and precision medicine, oncology pharmacists and pharmacy staff are integral to successful delivery of quality, cost-effective patient care.

The challenges are ongoing: increasing complexity of treatment regimens, new drug approvals and indications, the expansion of biosimilars in oncology, rapid advances in immunotherapy, the high cost of cancer treatment, and continual regulatory and reimbursement changes. 

The ACCC Oncology Pharmacy Education Network (OPEN) brings together education, resources, and peer-to-peer networking to help pharmacy professionals surmount the challenges and succeed.  OPEN offers the knowledge and know-how to navigate the accelerating course of change in oncology—clinically, operationally, fiscally, and programmatically. From USP <800> to integration of biosimilars, from preauthorizations to strategic planning—OPEN addresses real-world oncology pharmacy management issues such as reimbursement, distribution, inventory management, and effective integration of oral oncolytics, biosimilars, and immunotherapies for cancer.


Podcast

  • [PODCAST] Episode 7: The Evolution of Oncology Pharmacy
    Oct 29, 2019
    Learn more about the role that oncology pharmacists play in cancer care and how that role is changing in the face of new therapies and the advent of value-based health. Discover how UNC Hospital's Department of Pharmacy avoids passing surprise bills to patients and ensures financial stability for their cancer program.

Upcoming Meetings

From Oncology Issues

  •  Reducing Revenue Loss and Patient Financial Toxicity with a Pharmacy-Managed Pre-Certification and Denials Management Program
    Suzanne J. Francart, PharmD, BCPS, et al.
    To adequately address patient financial toxicity, institutions must assume responsibility for ensuring that patients understand their insurance coverage and anticipated out-of-pocket expenses. Institutions should also have procedures in place to navigate the pre-certification process and prevent claim denials that may ultimately end up as the patient’s responsibility.
  •  The Year of the Biosimilar
    Ali McBride, PharmD, MS, BCOP
    With the advent of biologics decades ago, the practice of oncology was forever changed.
  •  The Emerging Role of Oral Oncolytics
    Ali McBride, PharmD, MS, BCOP
    Oral oncolytic agents have several advantages over the parenteral route, including patient convenience, prolonged drug exposure, and non-invasive administration.
  •  Chemotherapy Stewardship
    Ali McBride, PharmD, MS, BCOP
    In response to the increasing complexity of oncolytic agents, the associated economic burden on the patient and health system, and the intricacies associated with alternative payment models (APMs), I suggest the need for widespread establishment of chemotherapy stewardship services.
  •  The Oncology Pharmacy Navigator
    Rice K, et al.
    Patients with cancer experience a variety of difficulties in accessing and managing their medications. The Legacy Health Cancer Institute established an oncology pharmacy navigator to decrease barriers to patient access, reconcile medication lists, and alleviate the financial burden of cancer care.
 

Additional Resources

Infusion

Patient-Centered Scheduling: Costs & Benefits of Extending Practice Hours

This special report from ACCC examines the pros and cons of extended infusion suite hours. Included is a tool to help practices and programs assess the feasibility of extending hours of care.

Oral Chemotherapy

Dispensing Pharmacy Patient Education Tool

Physician dispensing is governed by state law and regulated by State Boards of Pharmacy. While some states do not allow physician dispensing, most of the states that allow it require dispensing physicians to alert their patients about other options to fill their prescription(s). In response to this need, ACCC has developed this patient education tool that can be used across care settings.

 

Oncology Drug Database

Access ACCC's comprehensive resource for coding, billing, and reimbursement for oncology drugs.
Access the Database

ACCCBuzz Blog Posts

Specific Age-Related Challenges of an ALL Diagnosis

Meredith Barnhart, LCSW-R
April 04, 2019
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Sledgehammer crushing cancer cell

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a fast-moving malignancy of the blood and bone marrow. Although ALL affects both adults and children, it does so very differently.

Regardless of a patient’s age, a diagnosis of ALL can be sudden and unexpected. Because patients with ALL often have non-specific symptoms, diagnoses can come as a shock to them and their families, and patients often need to begin treatment quickly.

There are currently more than 78,000 people in the U.S. living with ALL, and approximately 6,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. While leukemia is generally a disease that affects older adults more often than children, ALL is an exception. The majority of new ALL cases each year—approximately 4,800—afflict patients ages 20 and younger.

Although ALL is the most common blood cancer in children and adolescents, the history of treating children with ALL has been a remarkable success story. Today, the average five-year survival rate for children with ALL younger than age 15 is approximately 92 percent.

While ALL can be more aggressive in children than in adults, children have fewer chromosomal abnormalities than adults do. Subsequently, adults generally do not fare as well as children after treatment, and they are at higher risk of relapse. The five-year survival rate for adults with ALL ages 20 and older is 35 percent.

An ALL diagnosis brings different considerations depending on patient age. For example, older adults may have additional medical conditions that can affect their treatment decisions. For working adults, an ALL diagnosis may mean having to stop working to receive treatment, which can have a big effect on family finances and insurance coverage if the patient is the primary policy holder.

Newly diagnosed adults of childbearing age should be told of the possible effect of treatment on reproductive organs. Education about options for fertility preservation is particularly significant for this age group. Younger adults (ages 20-39) can also face significant decisions regarding treatment types. Many of these patients fall into a grey area in which a determination needs to be made about whether they should undergo a pediatric or adult treatment protocol.

Young adults also can have unique lifestyle considerations when evaluating their treatment options. They may have recently moved out of their parents’ home, they may be in college, or they must be just launching their careers. Many such patients must rely on their parents for support during treatment, which can prove stressful.

Regardless of patient age, a cancer diagnosis affects entire families. Caregivers should be made aware of all help available to them. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) offers a comprehensive array of services and resources to patients with ALL and their families. Our Information Specialists are trained healthcare professionals who work directly with patients and their loved one to help them understand their diagnosis and treatment options and access needed resources. We also offer an array of financial support services, help with navigating clinical trials, and the services of nutrition consultants. 

The LLS Information Resource Center can be contacted by phone at 800-955-4572 or via www.lls.org/IRC.

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Guest blogger Meredith Barnhart, LCSW-R, is director of the Information Resource Center for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).  

Learn about the ACCC education project on Multidisciplinary Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia Care and access project resources here, including a webinar series and a publication providing an environmental scan of current multidisciplinary ALL care delivery and identifies potential process/quality improvement  opportunities for providers.