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Association of Oncologist Participation in Medicare's Oncology Care Model With Patient Receipt of Novel Cancer Therapies.

Manz CR, Tramontano AC, Uno H, Parikh RB, Bekelman JE, Schrag D. Association of Oncologist Participation in Medicare's Oncology Care Model With Patient Receipt of Novel Cancer Therapies. JAMA Network Open. 2022 Sep 1; 5(9):e2234161.

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Importance: Medicare''s Oncology Care Model (OCM) was an alternative payment model that tied performance-based payments to cost and quality goals for participating oncology practices. A major concern about the OCM regarded inclusion of high-cost cancer therapies, which could potentially disincentivize oncologists from prescribing novel therapies. Objective: To examine whether oncologist participation in the OCM changed the likelihood that patients received novel therapies vs alternative treatments. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cohort study of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program data and Medicare claims compared patient receipt of novel therapies for patients treated by oncologists participating vs not participating in the OCM in the period before (January 2015-June 2016) and after (July 2016-December 2018) OCM initiation. Participants included Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries in SEER registries who were eligible to receive 1 of 10 novel cancer therapies that received US Food and Drug Administration approval in the 18 months before implementation of the OCM. The study excluded the Hawaii registry because complete data were not available at the time of the data request. Patients in the OCM vs non-OCM groups were matched on novel therapy cohort, outcome time period, and oncologist specialist status. Analysis was conducted between July 2021 and April 2022. Exposures: Oncologist participation in the OCM. Main Outcomes and Measures: Preplanned analyses evaluated patient receipt of 1 of 10 novel therapies vs alternative therapies specific to the patient''s cancer for the overall study sample and for racial subgroups. Results: The study included 2839 matched patients (760 in the OCM group and 2079 in the non-OCM group; median [IQR] age, 72.7 [68.3-77.6] years; 1591 women [56.0%]). Among patients in the non-OCM group, 33.2% received novel therapies before and 40.1% received novel therapies after the start of the OCM vs 39.9% and 50.3% of patients in the OCM group (adjusted difference-in-differences, 3.5 percentage points; 95% CI, -3.7 to 10.7 percentage points; P? = .34). In subgroup analyses, second-line immunotherapy use in lung cancer was greater among patients in the OCM group vs non-OCM group (adjusted difference-in-differences, 17.4 percentage points; 95% CI, 4.8-30.0 percentage points; P? = .007), but no differences were seen in other subgroups. Over the entire study period, patients with oncologists participating in the OCM were more likely to receive novel therapies than those with oncologists who were not participating (odds ratio, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.09-1.97; P? = .01). Conclusions and Relevance: This study found that participation in the OCM was not associated with oncologists'' prescribing novel therapies to Medicare beneficiaries with cancer. These findings suggest that OCM financial incentives did not decrease patient access to novel therapies.

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