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VITAS Helps the Oncology Care Model Succeed

Oncology Care Model

What is the Oncology Care Model?

Under the oncology care model (OCM), 190 physician group practices (PGPs), have entered into payment arrangements with CMS that include financial and performance accountability for episodes of care triggered by chemotherapy administration to cancer patients.

As part of the model, participating PGPs are obligated to offer enhanced patient services, including care coordination, care plan development, patient navigation 24/7 access to care providers and a stricter adherence to national treatment guidelines for care.

Partnering with VITAS for End-of-Life Care

We believe increased hospice access for appropriate patients through partnership with VITAS, the national leader in end-of-life care, serves as a significant driver of physician group success as a part of the OCM. Care within the OCM remains consistent with our current management of cancer patients, where patients and families benefit from individualized care plans that support their values, wishes and goals.

VITAS is the expert

  • VITAS’ interdisciplinary care teams incorporate pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions to optimize symptom management while minimizing side effects

OCM-specific measures in VITAS end-of-life care

  • Pain is assessed and managed
  • All patients taking an opioid concurrently receive a bowel regimen
  • Patients are screened for clinical depression. The follow-up plan incorporates medication and other treatment modalities (e.g. psychosocial support from social work and chaplaincy, life review, music therapy, pet visits, massage therapy and volunteer support)
  • VITAS Telecare® provides all patients with 24/7/365 access to a team member is dispatched to directly access patient records. If medically necessary, a clinician is deployed to the patient and family to manage symptoms
  • VITAS offers tools, education, and support related to care plan development specifically addressing symptom management and psychosocial support

Supporting Cancer Patients at Home

  • Support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year with the benefit of Telecare® after-hours service
  • VITAS offers complex modalities, including intravenous therapies (pain medications, hydration, and antibiotics), paracentesis and thoracentesis for symptom management, high-flow oxygen, palliative blood transfusions and palliative TPN
  • Consultation with the treating oncologist when patients question their decision to enter hospice and have questions about more anti-tumor treatment
  • Willingness to do select bloodwork or imaging studies based upon mutually agreed-upon care goals
  • Documentation of current medication (OCM quality measure): At the time of admission and over the course of the hospice stay, the VITAS physician comprehensively reviews all medications and performs medication reconciliation to ensure medications continue to fit within the care goals
  • Treatment modalities are customized to individual patient needs. The VITAS medical director is a resource to referral sources who have questions about pain management or medications
  • Medications obtained through our mobile platform VMOR (VITAS Mobile Ordering Resource) and e-prescribed. Results: Medications are received more promptly and the active medication list is always up to date and can be accessed by all VITAS clinical staff anywhere at any time
  • VITAS partners with local pharmacies that are open 24/7 and e-prescribe to ensure patients can obtain medications after hours
  • Ongoing goals-of-care conversations

Assessing Oncology Patient Experience While on Hospice Care

As part of our continuous quality monitoring of the patient experience, VITAS regularly reaches out to patients and families to assess psychological well-being in real time.

  • The senior vice president of patient experience, along with the performance improvement specialist at each program, actively monitor the quality data on experience and develop tailored quality improvement projects to ensure the highest standards of patient care
  • Performance improvement specialists serve as a PGP contact for collaboration on patient experience issues at end of life

The Oncology Care Model and the Appropriate Use of Hospice

Oncology Care Model Chart

  • Numerous surveys and studies have documented the benefits of hospice to patients, their families and the health system as a whole from the standpoint of health outcomes, patient experience of care, and cost
  • Improved patient outcomes, improved patient experience of care, and the cost savings associated with the appropriate use of hospice now have a direct impact on physician groups
  • Hospice and palliative care education, resources and external partnerships have become increasingly important for physician groups managing the challenges and opportunities introduced by OCM