Oncology care will be the focus of one of the new Medicare disease management demonstration programs soon to be initiated. Medicare remains convinced that disease management services can provide substantial savings. There is, however, a problem: Fee-for-service Medicare, which includes most recipients, does not allow for disease management, except in one or two instances, such as diabetes self-education. The Medicare+Choice programcomprised mostly of health maintenance organizationsoffers disease management, but seniors have, for the most part, avoided this plan. Therefore, Medicare has selected 15 sites for case management and disease management services, which will be offered to Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries with complex chronic conditions. Quality Oncology, Inc, of McLean, Va, will implement an urban disease management program targeting beneficiaries in Broward County, Fla.
The idea is for Quality Oncology to match the plan of care written by the patient’s own oncologist. The Quality program’s medical director will contact the patient’s oncologist to discuss any differences between the care plan and the guidelines. A care manager will provide patient education and counseling, care coordination, and service arrangement.