The University of South Alabama Mitchell Cancer Institute is one of a select number of oncology providers nationwide to be chosen by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to participate in the Oncology Care Model for patients insured through Medicare.

The OCM is an innovative new payment and delivery model created to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of cancer care for patients undergoing chemotherapy. MCI will partner with Monroe County Hospital in Monroeville to participate in the five-year program, which begins July 1.

“The fact that Medicare chose the Mitchell Cancer Institute for this award is a testament to our ability to transform the delivery of cancer care throughout the region we serve,” said MCI Director Dr. Michael A Finan. “We will be at the forefront of the new model of cancer care by delivering the highest quality of care in a patient centric system. We are thrilled to be a part of this incredibly important program.”

The goals of the Oncology Care Model initiative are to improve health outcomes for cancer patients and improve the quality of cancer care from diagnosis to survivorship. MCI administrators stressed that participation in the Oncology Care Model would not alter treatment decisions or regimens.

To accomplish these goals, this practice transformation initiative will enable and encourage physicians and their medical teams to coordinate care so that a patient has access to treatment that addresses his or her individual needs. Under the model, physicians rely on the most current medical evidence as well as shared decision-making with patients, to determine the best course of treatment to achieve the best outcome and improve the patient experience.

The six practice requirements of the program include:

· Effective use of electronic health records
· 24-hour access to practitioners who can consult the patient’s medical records in real time
· Comprehensive care treatment plans for patients
· Patient navigation services
· Use of data to conduct quality improvement on an ongoing basis
· Use of therapies consistent with national recognized clinical guidelines.

“MCI is well-positioned for this practice transformation program, as we currently meet many of these practice requirements,” said Margaret Sullivan, MCI associate director for cancer control and prevention. “We are thrilled to be at the forefront of practice transformation initiatives designed to improve cancer outcomes, enable patients to better manage symptoms and stress associated with a cancer diagnosis, and reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

“Our selection by CMS to participate will set us apart as a leader in cancer care delivery,” she said.