Early results from Anthem cancer care quality program shows promising future

Anthem released promising preliminary results at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting from its cancer care quality program that aims to lower costs and transform how oncologists are paid.

Anthem's program--which began last July in 10 states--pays participating oncologists extra money for treatment planning and care coordination when they select a treatment regime that is "on pathway" or matches Anthem's treatment guidelines.

The $350 per month oncologists receive for a care management fee "essentially equalizes the difference" between what oncology practices earn in Anthem's program and what they would earn for higher cost, but not necessarily more effective, drug regimens, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

The insurer reported that, between July and December 2014, 616 practices registered 5,538 patients in the program that included the three types of cancer offered--breast, colorectal and non-small cell lung cancer. Based on chemotherapy claims for members incurred only from September to October 2014, 64 percent were registered with the program.

Additionally, among the 330 practices with less than one registered patient between September to October 2014, an average of 78.3 percent patients per practice were registered under Anthem's program.

While the results are sparse, Anthem is confident of the program's early success. Before implementation of the program, the baseline rate for use of its recommended treatment pathways was around 40 percent to 50 percent, Jennifer Malin, Anthem vice president for clinical strategy, told the Wall Street Journal.

For more:
- here are the results (.pdf)
- read the WSJ piece