The House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee recently held a hearing on programs and initiatives that reward physicians who deliver high-quality, efficient care. ASCO submitted written testimony from CEO Allen S. Lichter, MD, on many aspects of quality care, including how the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) helps oncologists effectively integrate quality measures into their practices.
“To achieve the national goals of better health, enhanced quality of care, and lower costs within the uniquely complex context of patients with cancer, it is imperative that we implement a robust quality assessment system,” said Dr. Lichter. He cautioned, however, that it is critically important to provide safeguards that ensure efforts to lower health-care costs do not jeopardize access to high-quality, high-value care for elderly Americans with cancer.
Power of QOPI
Dr. Lichter cited ASCO’s endeavors to enhance quality improvement, most notably QOPI. “This effort, designed to facilitate quality measurement and continuous improvement, is the only comprehensive, national database for oncology care in the ambulatory setting, where the vast majority of cancer services are provided,” he said. He added that community-based oncology practices not only provide critical access points where patients can receive their cancer care, but are also extremely cost-effective in the delivery of their care. He cited the fact that a significant number of oncologists have already demonstrated a remarkable willingness to devote time and resources to participate in a system designed to create meaningful improvements in the quality of cancer care.
Dr. Lichter also noted that some private health plans have already begun to recognize the power of QOPI. At least one health plan is subsidizing practice participation in the QOPI program, while others have included special recognition in provider directories or increased economic rewards and relief from certain administrative burdens.
“Over the past 4 decades, we have built an outpatient delivery system for cancer that is the envy of the world, and now as a nation, we need to act quickly to ensure that we do not lose this valuable resource,” he said. He concluded by saying that ASCO stands ready to work with Congress “to test new ideas, to share what we have learned through QOPI, and to continue progress toward a system that supports delivery of high-quality care for every patient with cancer.” ■
© 2012. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.