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Facing New Challenges in the Delivery of Cancer Care

Web Exclusives — May 5, 2020

In the Association for Value-Based Cancer Care (AVBCC) webcast, Managed Care Payers: COVID-19 Impact on Cancer Care and Road to Recovery, Michael Kolodziej, MD, Senior Advisor, ADVI Health, moderated a question-and-answer–style discussion featuring 3 experts from the field who shared fresh insights on the unfolding pandemic crisis.

“The vast majority of working-age Americans have their health insurance through employer-sponsored health benefits, so what’s happening in the commercial space is really, really important. It’s important now, and it’s going to be very important as we start to open up America,” said Dr Kolodziej as an introduction to the conversation.

John Fox, MD, Associate Vice President of Medical Affairs, Priority Health, focused first on the impact that telemedicine will have on the way in which claims would be processed and paid going forward. He said that one of the most pressing things is going to be “how to reduce the total cost of care,” noting that the “incorporation of personalized medicine in the cancer space is a great opportunity for doing that.” The other panelists agreed that telemedicine would be a game changer, but which changes would be enduring was an open question.

Panelists also discussed the extent to which their various markets are seeing large numbers of patients who have contracted the virus. Steven Peskin, MD, MBA, FACP, Executive Medical Director, Population Health and Transformation, Horizon BCBS, said, “in New Jersey, Bergen County alone has over 15,000 cases and over 1000 deaths.” Numbers are lower in some of the other, sparsely populated counties; however, “northern New Jersey is part of the Greater New York City area,” and thus reflects what is happening there. In that part of the state, “Our lives have been majorly affected; people are strained by social distancing, and people have lost jobs,” said Dr Peskin.

Bryan Loy, MD, MBA, Physician Lead, Oncology, Laboratory, and Personalized Medicine, Humana, said, “We’ve got to ‘learn our way into this’ with safety first.” As the crisis continues to develop, “paying close attention to where there are resistance factors, whether they be economic or administrative burdens,” will be crucial, Dr Loy concluded.

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