Tennessee Oncology Achieves High Quality Score, Saves Millions in Last Year of Medicare CMO


Community-based oncology organization Tennessee Oncology reportedly saved Medicare $ 5 million between 2019 and 2020.

Despite 3-year results showing Medicare did not generate healthcare savings from the Oncology Model of Care (CMO), a community-based oncology organization, Tennessee Oncology, saved $ 5 million to Medicare, according to a press release released by OneOncology.1

The CMO is an effort of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMS). The program includes new payment and delivery models designed to help improve the functioning of specialty care organizations. This includes more efficiency and effectiveness, according to CMS. To run CMS, 5 major insurance companies were involved and new arrangements were implemented for electronic health records and in-practice assessments.2

“Tennessee Oncology is committed to providing the highest quality care possible to our patients throughout and surrounding Tennessee, while reducing the financial burden of cancer care. Our OCM data is proof that we are on the right track, ”said Stephen Schleicher, MD, medical director of value-based care at Tennessee Oncology, in a press release.

“To achieve these results, we have invested heavily in data analytics, created points of contact for navigation of care, and integrated electronic monitoring of patient-reported outcomes to improve patient care. It’s exciting to see these efforts working to improve quality and reduce costs for our patients, ”Leah Owens, executive director of care transformation at Tennessee Oncology said in the press release.1

The latest year of OCM data covers the second half of 2019 through quarters 1 and 2 of 2020. While the initial savings were $ 5 million, Tennessee Oncology also eliminated the care management payments, raising the total savings of $ 10 million.

Under the CMO, data reporting and quality measures were also necessary to understand the effectiveness of the program. The quality score achieved by Tennessee Oncology was 100%. Organization cites implementation of pain and depression assessment and management for patients as well as patient experience, reduction of emergency department visits and provision of palliative care patient-centered. Notably. Tennessee Oncology emergency room visits were down 34% and their hospitalization rate was reduced by 29%.

The organization also credits its partnership with the Sara Cannon Research Institute for actively recruiting patients without FDA-approved treatment options into clinical trials.

“The transition to value-based care is not easy and takes time. With more than 170 oncology providers serving patients in more than 30 clinics across the state, implementing change is difficult. The recent CMO report suggests that the model has failed; However, our experience shows that for practices that engage in high-value care, change takes time and 3 years of data may not be enough to draw a conclusion. For Tennessee Oncology, we’re finally here and excited to be at the forefront of healthcare delivery innovation to improve patient care, said Natalie Dickson, MD, President and Medical Director of Tennessee Oncology, in the Press release.

“It doesn’t stop with our Medicare population,” added Dickson. By putting patients first, we are excited about what the future holds. “

The references:

1. Tennessee Oncology Achieves Perfect Quality Score While Saving Medicare $ 5 Million in Last Year of Oncology Care Model. Press release. Tennessee Oncology. November 20, 2021. Accessed November 23, 2021. https://bit.ly/3l5pxrX

2. Model of care in oncology. CMS.gov. Accessed November 23, 2021. https://innovation.cms.gov/innovation-models/oncology-care