The Community Oncology Alliance (COA) and Journal of Clinical Pathways (JCP) have joined in collaboration to keep JCP readers informed about news and research in the community oncology field, including available programs, research, and resources. COA is a national nonprofit organization dedicated solely to the community oncology system, its practices, and, most importantly, the patients they serve.
Did you know that more than half of America’s patients with cancer and survivors receive their treatment in the independent, community oncology setting? That is, oncology practices that are not part of hospitals or academic medical centers. As a critical part of the nation’s cancer care system, community oncology keeps patients close to their homes, families, jobs, and support networks, which lessens the burden of this disease.
The Community Oncology Alliance (COA) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans affected by cancer can receive quality, affordable cancer care in their own communities, near where they work and live. COA is dedicated solely to the community oncology system, its practices, and, most importantly, the patients they serve.
Serving as the voice of community oncology in Washington and across the country, COA aims to improve patient care, offer professional growth for cancer care providers, and support practice operations. Individuals from every level of the cancer care delivery team, including oncologists, hematologists, pharmacists, oncology nurses and nurse practitioners, physician assistants, patients, and survivors volunteer their time to lead COA and serve on its committees.
COA members regularly meet with state and federal lawmakers to advocate for smart, effective public policies. Members and staff have testified before both chambers of Congress, key federal agencies, and in statehouses to help shape bipartisan policies and legislation.
Current Challenges COA Is Undertaking on Behalf of Oncology Practices
Ensuring Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) Benefit Patients – COA is vigilant regarding any PBM practices that could negatively impact cancer patients, practices, and pharmacies. PBMs can compromise patient care quality, delay access to care, or unnecessarily increase its cost. COA is working with lawmakers in Washington on legislation to improve PBM transparency and accountability, and to ensure that they do not negatively influence the cancer care system.
Reforming the Broken 340B Program – The only national cancer organization pushing for fundamental reform of the broken and runaway 340B program is COA. Abuse of the program by some large hospitals who put profits over patients has fueled the rapid consolidation of America’s cancer care system into the much more expensive hospital setting. COA has released independent reports, testified before Congress, and been consistent in pushing for reform of 340B.
Stopping the Sequester Cut to Drug Reimbursement – Earlier this year COA filed suit against the federal government to stop it from applying the Medicare sequester to reimbursement for Part B drugs. Beginning in 2013, the government began to apply an illegal and unconstitutional 2% sequester cut to all Medicare Part B drug reimbursement, including for drugs, despite the fact that reimbursement is set by Congress. The sequester cut has harmed patients, decimated the independent community cancer care system, and costs seniors and taxpayers billions in unnecessary health care spending.
Advancing Meaningful Oncology Payment Reform – COA brings together community oncology practices, local and national health insurers, employers, employer coalitions, and policymakers to share ideas to reform the oncology payment and delivery system. This includes hosting the bi-annual Payer Exchange Summit on Oncology Payment Reform series. Since the first Payer Exchange Summit in 2014, numerous oncology payment reform initiatives begun here have become a reality in both the public and private sectors, such as the Oncology Medical Home. COA also hosts a free, private peer-to-peer exchange network for practices participating in the Oncology Care Model.
Supporting Oncology Professionals and Practice Operations
COA provides resources for the community oncology care team to network, learn from each other, grow professionally, and make an impact. Access to these resources is free of charge, and we welcome all members of the community cancer care team to join us.
COA Administrators Network (CAN) provides oncology practice administrators, business executives, and office leaders with a professional forum for education, sharing best practices, and networking. CAN members regularly discuss key intelligence on issues community oncology practices face while focusing on improving patient care and providing a unified advocacy voice.
Community Oncology Pharmacy Association (COPA) was formed to support practices with in-house pharmacies that dispense oral cancer drugs and ancillary therapies. Through COPA, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and other team members work together to address the unique pharmacy challenges that they face, including barriers to distribution, overcoming payer or PBM challenges, optimizing medication management and patient counseling, and meeting and maintaining accreditation standards such as USP 800.
COA Advanced Practice Provider Network (CAPP) is a peer-to-peer professional group for oncology nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other advanced practice providers. The CAPP Network helps advanced practice providers grow as leaders and stay current on the latest developments that impact patient care.
COA Patient Advocacy Network (CPAN) is a national network of patients, survivors, caregivers, family members, medical and oncology professionals, and others who advocate on legislative issues affecting the quality and accessibility of cancer care. CPAN chapters are active in community oncology practices across the country and are regularly in Washington meeting with policymakers.
COA Fellows Initiative educates hematology/oncology fellows about the benefits of practice in the community setting. The initiative explores, in detail, the opportunities community oncology presents, educates fellows on practice options, and discusses the many factors to consider when making career decisions. It hosts local events across the country and provides an important perspective to future oncology/hematology providers.
Want to Learn More About COA? Get Involved? Have Ideas? Join Us!
COA resources, many of which are available at no charge, are readily accessible to community oncology practices and professionals. We welcome individuals from all levels of the cancer care team and community to be a part of the work that we do, innovating and advocating for community cancer care.
To learn more about the Community Oncology Alliance and what we can do for your practice, visit www.CommunityOncology.org or send us an email at info@COAcancer.org.