The challenges that community oncology has faced in recent years have inspired innovators to develop new platforms and ideas, many of which have been implemented with various degrees of success.
Struggling oncology practices, especially those squeezed by large hospital conglomerates, seem to have had no choice but to sell out; we can’t blame them; they were squeezed by powers that they could not resist or fight.
Smaller practices, on occasion, have joined larger ones to augment their purchasing power. This aggregation is good as long as practices can stay independent so that community oncology survives and succeeds.
Other practices have investigated large national aggregation models, many supported by investors, and they seem to be doing well. In these recent models, practices that join are required to sign contracts in which they lose all or part of their independence, though they do gain benefits in terms of volume-based contracting, management, and even potentially taking advantage of ancillary services and pharmacy benefits. This loss of destiny and control has made these platforms less appealing to many independent-minded practices. This has mandated a different model, one in which practices maintain 100% independence in everything, purchasing, management, staffing, billing, everything.
Realizing that no size fits all, specifically that none of the above scenarios fits many of the independent oncology practices, we at ICOP produced a model in 2020.
This is how it works.
Innovative Community Oncology Practices (ICOP) works through a different platform:
1. Practices keep doing exactly what they have been doing, with zero change.
2. ICOP contracts with pharma for rebates in addition to what they get from their respective GPO. This rebate considers all ICOP purchasing power as one entity, although each ICOP practice maintains its Tax ID, NPI, and others.
3. ICOP receives the additional rebate from pharma and redistributes those monies to ICOP members.
4. There is no joining fee.
5. Practices can join and exit at their will, no strings attached, NONE…
6. ICOP does not have a sales force to propagate our concept. Our members are our sales force, word of mouth, and this website, of course.
7. There is no minimum or cap on practice size to join ICOP.
8. Start up and enhance clinical research for ICOP sites via the affiliated Sargon Research Network.
9. Information sharing about best practices
10. Assisting ICOP affiliates when challenges arise.
There is no doubt that ICOP members have exceeded our own expectations in terms of pharma contracts. We are predicting a surge in the number of contracts in the coming few months. Our growth curve is healthy, and all members are excited.