The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine are building a technology-based solution to tackle an ongoing challenge in cancer care delivery: effective transition of care (ToC). As Dr. Ahmed Hassoon, Co-Investigator with the Alliance to Advance Patient-Centered Cancer Care, explains, cancer patients often feel lost when they complete their active treatment; they move from intense monitoring and care to a destabilizing transition into survivorship. Studies have shown that patients in transition have a high risk of being readmitted to the hospital following their discharge, with rates of 26 percent for palliative medicine and 27 percent for general medical oncology.
The Oncology Care Model: Implications for Cancer Care Delivery and Payment Reform
Cancer care is very expensive, and the cost is rising at an unsustainable rate. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that medical expenditures related to cancer are expected to stretch to $158 billion in the year 2020. Cancer patients receiving systemic therapy represent the group with the highest costs. The Oncology Care Model is the largest medical subspecialty alternative payment model developed and administered by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. This pilot program, launched in July 2016, aims to improve the delivery of cancer care while controlling costs by holding providers responsible for the total cost of care. Many of the changes in care delivery required to succeed in this program involve fundamental practice transformation. In this webinar, Dr. Michael Kolodziej will discuss the rationale for this model, results to date, as well as a forecast for the ultimate results of the model. He will also project the next stage of cancer care payment reform.
In January 2019, the Policy Task Group for the National Navigation Roundtable released an issue brief entitled, “Patient Navigation in Cancer Care: Review of Payment Models for a Sustainable Future.” This resource outlines the various ways in which patient navigation services are currently funded. Case examples of short-term, long-term, and alternative funding models are given as well as their respective benefits and challenges. Finally, this document provides several recommendations for policy makers, payers, and stakeholders to improve payment models and to promote the sustainability and expansion of patient navigation in cancer care.
Today is World Cancer Day, and the American Cancer Society has dedicated coverage of events around the globe and updates on the state of cancer research.
Life After Grant Funding: Making the Business Case for Your Intervention
Many grant proposals require a plan for sustainability, carrying the expectation that a funded program will continue to be viable once the start-up resources have run out. This can be a challenging proposition for medical researchers, who have to run their interventions while identifying all direct and indirect financial benefits of their work. Drawing from his international research experience, Dr. J. Brian Cassel will discuss his approach to developing long-term funding models in palliative care, presenting universal considerations that could assist researchers in maintaining clinical and quality-improvement programs that expand access to care.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has recently released data showing that mental illness is a growing, largely unaddressed public health concern. Their findings show that over 44 million adults have mental illness, and of those, 16 million people (including 3.1 million youths aged 12-17) have experienced a major depressive episode.
In this context, oncology and primary care practitioners are striving to attend to their patients’ mental and physical health, monitoring them for signs of mental distress. Although it is common for 20-30% of patients to experience clinically relevant levels of depression or anxiety when receiving a diagnosis of cancer, according to Dr. Kelly Edwards Irwin of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, physicians and patients should not ignore prolonged symptoms of depression. “Depression can be treated effectively with psychotherapy and medication,” she explains. She adds that it is important to address these symptoms because they impact the patient’s quality of life and ability to engage in needed cancer treatment. Continue reading
A Report from the National Navigation Roundtable: The State of Patient Navigation Today
According to the American Medical Association, a patient navigator is someone who provides personal guidance to patients as they move through the health care system. Patient navigators may have professional medical, legal, financial, or administrative experience, or they may have personally faced health care-related challenges and want to help others who find themselves in similar situations1.
An Alliance Infographic
The Alliance to Advance Patient-Centered Cancer Care aims to increase patient-centered care for cancer patients through improving coordination of care, patient-provider communication, patient engagement, psychosocial care, and other supportive care. The infographic below provides important background information on patient-centered care.
Dr. Jeff Stone has recently expanded his implicit bias training program and is looking to take his expertise beyond the University of Arizona. The Alliance National Program Office reached out to Dr. Stone to learn more about implicit bias and discuss the impact of his intervention.
In Southern Arizona, the largest population of underserved minority patients is of Hispanic descent. Research shows that, even with all other factors being equal, minority patients are less likely to receive adequate health care. A growing body of research suggests that implicit bias may be one of the factors associated with this finding. Jeff Stone, PhD, from the University of Arizona Cancer Center (UACC), has been working with the University of Arizona College of Medicine (CoM) to train first year medical students to recognize their own bias before they start interacting with patients. According to Dr. Stone, “by understanding the psychology underlying their bias, they [medical students] can learn to control it, no matter who they are interacting with.” The training teaches medical students a variety of techniques that have been shown to reduce bias, helping promote equitable care for all patients. Continue reading
Two University of Arizona researchers presented posters at a local research fair highlighting interventions underway at UACC aimed at improving patient-centered cancer care for underserved populations.
[featured image – Left to Right: Lorena Verdugo, Dr. Julie Armin, and Juanita Trejo]
On May 2nd, The University of Arizona’s Juanita Trejo, MPH and Yvonne Bueno, MPH, OTR/L, presented posters at the 3rd Annual El Rio Research Fair “Innovations in Community Health”. Juanita Trejo, a recent graduate from the University of Arizona Master of Public Health program, presented a poster on the process of training Community Health Workers (CHWs) for The University of Arizona Cancer Center’s (UACC) expansion of Dr. Catherine A. Marshall’s Un Abrazo Para La Familia™ (Abrazo) program, Embracing the Family. She was awarded 2nd place in the innovation category. Yvonne Bueno, a 4th year Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) student at the University of Arizona’s College of Public Health, presented the results of qualitative survivorship care interviews, an important research tool in the expansion of UACC’s patient navigation program. She was recognized in the relevance category, earning 3rd place.