Published on December 14, 2013 at 11:49 AM
Disappointing though, Colla said, was that the Demonstration group did not make changes in services more likely to be discretionary (such as imaging), which are both expensive and common in cancer treatment. The researchers noted that as more expensive chemotherapy agents and new procedures are introduced into the market, payments for inpatient care may be dwarfed by spending on cancer treatments.
Spending on cancer care is expected to increase as the population ages and new and expensive treatments are deployed. Payers are legally obligated to provide coverage for cancer treatment regardless of cost.
"ACOs have the potential to align incentives that could support a variety of value-based approaches to cancer care," Colla said. "These approaches might include encouraging physicians to consider patient preferences and value when weighing treatments, implementing evidence-based treatments, and discouraging overuse of imaging or expensive chemotherapy agents with suitable substitutes."
Source: Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center