The 2016 Trends in Cancer Programs Survey is year seven of an ongoing survey of ACCC-member cancer programs, designed to educate on nationwide developments in the business aspects of cancer care. The survey is also a tool to assist members in evaluating their own organization's performance relative to similar cancer programs.
The 2016 Trends Survey reflects input from four surveys: one each for cancer program administrators, oncology nurses, pharmacists, and medical director/physician leaders. The surveys were designed to elicit insight on “hot topic” issues, including staffing models, patient-centered care, healthcare delivery models, and oral oncolytics and targeted therapies. Among respondents top challenges and concerns:
Cost of cancer drugs. This issue was named the top challenge by 2016 survey respondents (83%)—up from 45% the year prior. Open-ended survey responses revealed some of the ways ACCC member programs are meeting this challenge head on. “We stay on formulary as much as possible; keep less effective drugs off formulary; use our financial counselors and pharmacists to help reduce patient cost,” shared one medical director. Yet respondents recognize that drug costs are only one driver of the escalating cost of care, and that the issue is nuanced. “Affordability of care requires two conversations: total cost of care to the system and then the affordability for the patient,” said another medical director.
Lack of reimbursement for supportive care services. In another continuing trend, 66% of respondents report challenges around unreimbursed supportive care services, such as patient navigation, survivorship care planning, and financial counseling, which are key elements of patient-centered care.
A need for greater transparency around commercial insurance coverage. In alignment with the drive to empower patients, respondents cited the need for increased transparency in commercial insurance policies so that patients can readily understand what services plans do—and do not—cover (64%). While waiting to see what will happen under the new Administration, ACCC member programs continue to lead efforts on cost transparency. “[We] have put together a cost transparency group to determine how we can provide education and assistance to patients who have been prescribed high-cost chemotherapies or immunotherapies,” shared one cancer program administrator.
The burden of numerous mandatory reporting requirements. Finally, providers challenged by a turbulent and ever-changing healthcare landscape and burdened by an increasing number of mandatory reporting programs are citing a critical need for “physicians and mid-level providers to focus on direct patient care—not paperwork” (55%). In the words of one radiation oncologist, “Paperwork continues to increase and takes away from the doctor and patient interaction.” An oncology nurse shared a similar concern, “...Payers should work with those in the trenches [providers] to make pre-certifications easier...Get non-clinical personnel off the phones and let providers speak with decision makers.”
If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Provider Resources.
The survey is a joint project between ACCC and Lilly Oncology.