QOPI® Certification Provides Hematology–Oncology Practices With Quality Bona Fides

QOPI® Certification Provides Hematology–Oncology Practices With Quality Bona Fides

Dr. Douglas W. Blayney
Providing effective and quality treatment to all patients is the primary goal of oncology. ASCO’s Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) Certification Program (QCP) can help outpatient hematology-oncology practices facilitate better care for patients through a series of performance measures and nationally approved standards measured through data submitted by individual practices.

QCP is a 3-year certification program that validates a practice’s processes, demonstrating a commitment to quality to patients, payers, and colleagues. QOPI-participating practices may apply for Certification after they select QOPI Certification measures, meet target chart numbers, and meet scoring requirements.

“QOPI Certification recognizes your practice’s performance on quality of care measures, it also allows you to benchmark your performance against other high-performing oncology practices,” Douglas W. Blayney, MD, FASCO, a member of the ASCO Quality of Care Committee, said. “As we enter an era of value-based payments, measuring and improving our performance is more and more important to our patients and to our payers.”

ASCO’s practice-facing quality improvement programs are administered by the Clinical Affairs Department. These programs, which include QCP, are poised to play an important role in the Physician Quality Reporting System and the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) reporting that determine oncologists’ Medicare reimbursement rates.

Clinical Affairs will assist members with obtaining MIPS scoring through their participation in QOPI, QCP, and the Quality Training Program. It will also position practices to succeed in Alternative Payment Models through its consulting division and the ASCO COME HOME program.

Maintaining Safety Standards and Extending Outreach

In 2016, a third revision was made to the ASCO/ONS Chemotherapy Administration Safety Standards, including Standards for Pediatric Oncology. These include standards for the safe use of parenteral chemotherapy in the outpatient setting, including issues of practitioner orders, preparation, and administration of medication.

New recommendations include strengthening competency requirements for oncology staff, the verification of safe chemotherapy administration, and overall medical record documentation requirements for patients with cancer. The ASCO QOPI Certification Oversight Council reviewed and adopted the new changes within the 20 QOPI Certification Safety Standards, and updated standards are scheduled to be implemented in June.

As of February, there were 287 QOPI-certified practices in 46 states, including two international practices in Brazil and Greece. In 2016, the Contemporary Oncology Team in Athens, Greece, was the first international practice to receive QOPI Certification outside of the United States.

Four hundred seventy-one medical oncologists from Brazil, Greece, India, Romania, Saudi Arabia, and Spain participated in the Fall 2016 QOPI round. QOPI is currently available in countries in the European Union, Argentina, Brazil, India, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

ASCO plans to continue adding to this list of countries based on legal review and as the Society’s resources allow.

Benefits of Certification

QOPI participation offers a lot more than comparative results and quality reports. Practices can use their participation or information from the quality reports to satisfy a number of external requirements. Beginning with practices certified in 2016, all physicians in a QOPI-certified practice can claim 20 American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) points. Physicians operating out of QOPI-certified practices are also eligible for discounts of up to 10% on malpractice insurance premiums purchased through The Doctors Company.

Practices interested in QOPI Certification can learn more about the application process online. Certification is open to U.S. and some international practices. Practices are encouraged to apply as a whole entity as long as they demonstrate that all of their office sites are functionally integrated. The next qualifying QOPI round opens in September. All practices that achieve a threshold quality score can apply for certification after the round closes in November.

QCP provides a certification help box and holds monthly informational webinars. Annual Meeting attendees can learn more by visiting the Quality Certification Booth, ASCO Central Booth 7004, in the Oncology Professionals Hall, or by visiting instituteforquality.org/qcp/about-qcp.  

–Hilary Adams