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NWMS Voluntarily Elects 2-Sided Risk In The Oncology Care Model


In 2016, Northwest Medical Specialties (NWMS), PLLC was one out of 196 original practices selected to participate in the Oncology Care Model (OCM), a voluntary program that aims to provide high-quality and cost-efficient cancer care through the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). This 5-year model provides care coordination, navigation, and national treatment guidelines for Medicare beneficiaries. Northwest Medical Specialties is dedicated to bringing quality care to patients in the South Puget Sound of Washington, not only through the OCM but through various national and local quality initiatives.

As of performance period 4, any OCM group that has not achieved some level of savings will have no choice but to accept a downside risk track, or else exit the program.  NWMS has achieved cost target savings in all 4 performance periods of the OCM according to data compiled by Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). Due to this success and with much deliberation, NWMS has decided to elect “two-sided risk.” The two-sided risk model will hold practices more accountable as they share some of the cost risk for their OCM patients.

Amy Ellis, Director of Quality and Value Based Care at NWMS, added, “Our practice has always been determined to improve care for patients, its truly a mission for NWMS. Voluntarily going at risk in OCM is no different, we understand and support the changes needed in cancer care which include reducing costs to the healthcare system overall and providing the most efficient and high value care to our patients.”

Sibel Blau, MD, Medical Director at NWMS and President/CEO at Quality Cancer Care Alliance Network (QCCA), added, “CMMI has taken a very brave and tedious move to improve the healthcare system. As the program evolves, two-sided risk model will be mandated.  NWMS is not only confident that it can embrace this move, but feels it is extremely important to take an action and keep being motivated to be a part of this critically important model”

NWMS provides innovative medical services for patients diagnosed with cancer, blood diseases and infectious diseases. NWMS is dedicated to providing excellence in patient care and understanding individual needs. As an independent community cancer center with 5 locations, NWMS strives to bring state of the art, high quality care to patients in their own communities. NWMS is a participating practice in the QCCA and participates in several quality cancer-care initiatives, such as the CMMI’s OCM, American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Quality Oncology Practice Initiative, and the National Committee for Quality Assurance. With these quality initiatives in place, NWMs has been able to significantly reduce costs and improve the patient experience.

NWMS continues to improve care for patients by cultivating community physician and payor relationships that can bring valuable resources to patients which help drive quality care and a improve the patient’s overall quality of life. With new relationships forged, NWMS has been able to provide a patient resource center, a comprehensive oncology specified rehabilitation program, case managers, patient navigators, care coordination and more!