Survey: Cost of Treatment Top Threat to Cancer Program Growth

01/17/18

The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) annual survey to identify emerging trends across US cancer programs found costs of drugs and new treatment modalities as the largest threat to future cancer program growth.

The eighth annual Trending Now in Cancer Care survey—which was conducted in partnership with Advisory Board’s Oncology Roundtable and distributed via email—was designed to collect information on the key issues affecting cancer care providers across the country. A total of 293 individuals from 209 institutions responded to the survey.

"From barriers to care to opportunities for cost-savings to benchmarking data to support short- and long-term strategic planning, these survey results highlight our commitment to helping our members thrive—not merely survive—in a tumultuous and ever-changing health care environment," said Mark S Soberman, MD, MBA, FACS, president of ACCC, in a press release (January 16, 2018).

Among the most cited threats to future cancer program growth identified by the respondents included costs of drugs or new treatment modalities (68%), physician alignment around services and program goals (47%), and changes in health care coverage (46%). Cuts to fee-for service reimbursement and the move to value-based care were also identified as top threats. Additionally, 33% of respondents identified marketplace competition as a formidable issue.

When prompted to identify their greatest opportunities for cost savings, respondents notably selected clinical standardization (63%) and drugs (62%). Almost 30% of respondents intend to improve clinical standardization by using clinical pathways (either vendor sponsored or made in-house) for medical oncology.

Furthermore, 25% of respondents expect to see cost savings after reducing capital expenses, such as radiation and imaging equipment.  

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Among the other trends disclosed in the survey include market consolidation and the rise in marketplace partnerships, participation in value-based contracts, and barriers to meeting accreditation and quality reporting requirements.

The survey will help formulate ACCC’s agenda for its upcoming 44th Annual Meeting and Cancer Center Business Summit (March 14-16, 2018; Washington, DC).—Zachary Bessette