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Emerging trends in cancer care: health plans' and pharmacy benefit managers' perspectives on changing care models.

Autor(es): Greenapple, Rhonda
Fonte: Am Health Drug Benefits;5(4): 242-53, 2012 Jul.
Artigo [ PMID: 24991323 ] Idioma(s): Inglês
Publicação: Artigo de Revista
BACKGROUND: Cancer care in the United States is being transformed by a number of medical and economic trends, including rising drug costs, increasing availability of targeted therapies and oral oncolytic agents, healthcare reform legislation, changing reimbursement practices, a growing emphasis on comparative effectiveness research (CER), the emerging role of accountable care organizations (ACOs), and the increased role of personalization of cancer care. OBJECTIVE: To examine the attitudes of health plan payers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) toward recent changes in cancer care, current cost-management strategies, and anticipated changes in oncology practice during the next 5 years. METHODS: An online survey with approximately 200 questions was conducted by Reimbursement Intelligence in 2011. The survey was completed by 24 medical directors and 31 pharmacy directors from US national and regional health plans and 8 PBMs. All respondents are part of a proprietary panel of managed care decision makers and are members of the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committees of their respective plans, which together manage more than 150 million lives. Survey respondents received an honorarium for completing the survey. The survey included quantitative and qualitative questions about recent developments in oncology management, such as the impact on their plans or PBMs of healthcare reform, quality improvement initiatives, changes in reimbursement and financial incentives, use of targeted and oral oncolytics, and personalized medicine. Respondents were treated as 1 group, because there were no evident differences in responses between medical and pharmacy directors or PBMs. RESULTS: Overall, survey respondents expressed interest in monitoring and controlling the costs of cancer therapy, and they anticipated increased use of specialty pharmacy for oncology drugs. When clinical outcomes are similar for oral oncolytics and injectable treatments, 93% prefer the oral agents, which are covered under the specialty tier by 59% of the plans. The use of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network practice guidelines for coverage and reimbursement of oncologic agents is reported as "very frequent" by 10% of survey respondents, "frequent" by 21%, and "moderately frequent" by 7%. Most (66%) respondents believe that it is probable and 3% believe it is highly probable that healthcare reform will help to control oncology treatment costs, although 59% also predict an increase in utilization restrictions and 48% predict more stringent comparative effectiveness evidence requirements. The survey reveals a considerable uncertainty among health plans and PBMs about the eventual impact of ACOs on oncology care. Although 82% of those surveyed believe that measures such as increasing adherence to evidence-based treatments will achieve cost-savings, nearly half (48%) had no plans to use such measures. CONCLUSIONS: Recent trends in healthcare legislation, rising drug costs, and changing reimbursement practices are poised to significantly alter conventional models of cancer care delivery and payment. The results of this survey indicate that health plans and PBMs anticipate greater use of evidence-based management strategies, including CER, quality initiatives, and biomarker testing for appropriate cancer therapy selection. In addition, they anticipate greater focus on cost control, with a greater role for utilization management and increased patient cost-sharing. Finally, there is a high level of uncertainty among plans and PBMs about the eventual impact of ACOs and other aspects of healthcare reform on oncology practice.