April 2015 marks the one-year anniversary for the beginning of National Community Oncology Dispensing Association, Inc. (NCODA). Recognizing the growing separation between direct patient oversight and delivery of therapy, a group of dedicated pharmacists from New York gathered together to reverse the trend. Believing the best place for quality patient care lies with the treating clinician and local care team, the founding members of NCODA reached out to their local payers to establish programs that help to ensure patient care remains at the local community oncology clinic. With a larger percentage of chemotherapy treatments including oral drugs, the current model distinguishes oral therapy from the overall management of the cancer patient by sending patients’ prescriptions to a centralized and de-personalized pharmacy provider in another state or region. “In order to best manage a patient’s care, it is critical to have regular face-to-face interactions and full access to all of a patient’s treatment records” says Michael Reff, RPh, MBA, Founder and President of NCODA.
One year ago, a NCODA member practice collaborated with a large regional payer in the Central NY area to approve dispensing of oral oncolytics to the payer’s members to go beyond the first fill. This allowed the patients being treated with oral cancer therapy to stay connected to their local care team enhancing compliance, improving side effect management, supporting financial stewardship, and driving overall improved patient outcomes. “The first year has been very successful … the staff at the practice have always been helpful, polite, and willing to help with whatever I need, unlike the outside service I was previously mandated to use. I believe patients would benefit from having all their prescriptions filled at a practice such as The Patient Rx Center because they have made things much easier for someone who is dealing with so much” says Jennifer R., a 37 year old woman fighting cancer, from Syracuse, N.Y.
NCODA has since successfully employed the same quality model for patients at affiliated practices in other geographical areas to bring about similar collaborations. A recent agreement between a large cancer practice in the Albany, NY area has resulted in a successful collaboration to allow patients’ oral drug therapy management to remain with the practice. The same cancer practice is currently in collaboration with a second payer. “When we prioritize quality patient care and patient satisfaction in managing our patients, it is a win-win for everyone involved” states Nancy Egerton, PharmD, BCOP. “The momentum is building, and we have set a model which all of our NCODA affiliates can follow as we continue to reshape the oral cancer therapy treatment continuum,” continued Mr. Reff.
NCODA is a grass roots, not-for-profit organization focused on driving the positive changes needed to better prepare community oncology practices to establish and sustain the dispensing oral oncolytic agents. In the last 12 months, the founding members of NCODA have endeavored to re-shape the treatment delivery model, eliminate clinical fragmentation and improve the efficiency of patient care. NCODA has developed Quality Standards to include Patient-Centered, Positive Quality Interventions, Fundamental Practice Elements and Health Information Technology. These standards, as well as sharing of best practices, assist NCODA affiliates as they navigate the new landscape when starting or working to streamline an already established in-office oncology dispensing program.
NCODA continues to recruit new affiliate practices. NCODA membership currently spans the country and includes over 29 practices with 1,500 providers. “We are making these positive changes for our cancer patients in order to help community practices create an environment where they can offer the best, most efficient care possible. We are doing this by partnering with regional and national payers to keep the site of care where it belongs… at the local clinic” said Mr. Reff.
If you would like to find more information about NCODA or potentially becoming a member, please click here or contact us at patientsfirst@ncoda.org. Visit our website at www.ncoda.org
Contact: Jim Holmes, RPh Director – Communication & Strategic Development, NCODA Jim.Holmes@ncoda.org M: 518.265.5213