Delivering, Ensuring and Measuring Quality
Today’s employers are faced with the tremendous challenge of making prudent business decisions for themselves and providing optimal benefits for their employee base. The access to quality, state-of-the-art medical care is critical. After job satisfaction, health benefits are one of the primary factors in employee retention. In today’s ever changing Affordable Care Act (ACA) landscape, even understanding the basic employer health care requirements can be difficult to decipher.
“Health care is on a collision course with patient needs and economic reality. In today’s dysfunctional health care competition, players strive not to create value for patients but to capture more revenue, shift costs and restrict services. To reform health care, we must reform the nature of competition itself. True reformation must take place in a market that balances both patient outcomes and money spent, thus creating true value,” according to Harvard Business School, 2013.
Every patient and their employer, especially those who are diagnosed with cancer, are concerned about the emotional, physical and financial impact of serious illness. Both the patient and employer are concerned about short- and long-term disability, reduced attendance and productivity, just to name a few.
It is imperative that innovative programs and options for employees and employers are being developed to move from “Volume to Value health care.” There are significant costs to patients that receive emergency room or hospital care. The patient receives better care from physicians – i.e. from their own personal, patient-chosen doctor – who know them and all the nuances of their disease process. The highest quality and most cost effective care is best achieved by providing patients a coordinated care plan by a physician in the outpatient setting. This means development of programs that are enhanced to better educate, develop treatment pathways and address some emergent needs in the practice setting. A patient-centered medical home addresses these and other challenges.
Space Coast Cancer Center is a leader in Florida and the nation for offering an oncology medical home. The oncology medical home was developed to meet the challenge of improving quality and access to cancer care. This is a patient-centered system of delivering quality cancer care that is coordinated and efficient.
The key aspects of the Oncology Medical Home model are:
• Expanded access with the addition of night and weekend hours
• Multi-disciplinary care coordination
• Enhanced patient education and symptom management
• Coordination of clinical management and treatment pathways
• Decreased emergency visits and hospitalizations
• Quality monitoring and benchmarking including financial review to avoid overutilization
This program offers extended evening and weekend hours and evidence-based oncology pathways. Additionally, these programs enhance patients’ and employees’ ability to maintain productivity, decrease treatment toxicity, lower disability and allow the employee a faster return to work. This is an example of innovation that has been developed to meet the demands of serious illnesses with the added benefit of helping employees and employers.
Approximately 40 percent of the more than one million Americans diagnosed with some form of cancer each year are working-age adults.1 For employers, the financial, emotional and productivity burden of cancer in the workplace is high. Today, with significant gains in cancer survival rates, most cancer survivors are staying at work during their treatment or returning to work after their treatment.
Richard M. Levine, M.D., M.S., is the managing partner at Space Coast Cancer Center, specializing in hematology and oncology. Visit SpaceCoastCancerCenter.com to learn more.
1. American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2012. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2012.