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CMS selects UChicago Medicine for new Medicare cancer care initiative

UChicago is among 200 physician groups in new Oncology Care Model

July 1, 2016

The University of Chicago Medicine is one of three academic medical centers in Illinois selected to participate in a new federal effort designed to provide better care to cancer patients.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) said it selected nearly 200 physician group practices and 17 health insurance companies nationwide to participate in its Oncology Care Model. The project is designed to support and encourage higher quality, more coordinated cancer care.

"We are excited to be participating with CMS in this important program aimed at improving the quality of care of Medicare cancer patients," said Blase Polite, MD, associate professor of medicine and director of quality in the university's section of hematology oncology. "We strongly share the vision of providing high-value care to our patients. With the Oncology Care Model, we will be working with CMS and other like-minded practices around the country to share the best ideas to continuously improve on the already outstanding care we provide to our patients."

Cancer is one of the most common and devastating diseases in the United States. Statistics show more than 1.6 million new cases will be diagnosed each year. About 600,000 Americans will die from the disease in 2016. 

The Oncology Care Model encourages health care providers to improve care and lower costs through Medicare payments that reward high-quality patient care. Practices participating in the five-year program will provide treatment following nationally recognized clinical guidelines for beneficiaries undergoing chemotherapy. Groups will provide enhanced services to beneficiaries that are designed to make sure patients receive timely, coordinated treatment.

This may include:

  • Coordinating appointments with providers within and outside the oncology practice to ensure timely delivery of diagnostic and treatment services;
  • Providing 24/7 access to care when needed;
  • Arranging for diagnostic scans and follow up with other members of the medical team such as surgeons, radiation oncologists, and other specialists that support the beneficiary through their cancer treatment;
  • Making sure that data from scans, blood test results, and other tests are received in advance of patient appointments so that patients do not need to schedule additional visits; and
  • Providing access to additional patient resources such as emotional support groups, pain management services, and clinical trials.


The Oncology Care Model begins July 1 and runs through June 30, 2021. For more information about the model and a list of practices and insurance companies participating in it, visit http://innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/Oncology-Care/.

For more information about the University of Chicago Medicine's Comprehensive Cancer Center, visit http://www.uchospitals.edu/specialties/cancer/index.shtml.

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