- CVS Health unveiled a precision medicine program for oncology patients Thursday designed to increase access to broad-panel gene sequencing tests for patients with specific advanced stage cancers.
- The Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based healthcare behemoth is partnering with Tempus, a precision medicine company, to help clinicians develop a personalized regimen for cancer patients to limit disease progression and reduce unnecessary costs.
- Results from the genetic tests will also be used to match eligible patients to clinical trials in their area. CVS-owned payer Aetna has already adopted the program for its fully insured commercial beneficiaries and is rolling it out with participating Aetna provider networks in 12 states.
CVS executives have teased an oncology care pilot for much of this year as they look for ways to capitalize on overlap between its retail locations and Aetna. Over the summer, it trialed a coordinated care pilot for knee replacements and plans to expand it to hip replacements soon.
The latest program includes: value-based contracting with oncology providers; local access to screenings and preventive services offered at CVS HealthHUBs; pharmacies and MinuteClinics; nurse-led care management integrated with a payer's existing programs to close existing gaps in care; and provider access to evidence-based guidelines from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network..
CVS also introduced a kidney disease management service in April as CEO Larry Merlo looks to expand the $195 billion company's chronic care and episode management products, with the end goal of nudging patients into CVS' roughly 10,000 retail locations.
This new scheme is meant to target patients with a later stage of cancer and get them treatment quickly, before the disease becomes unstoppable. The majority of cancers, when diagnosed early, can be effectively managed or even cured, according to the American Cancer Society.
"Timing in cancer care is everything and when a patient does not get started on the right treatment it can result in progression and higher costs," CVS chief transformation officer Alan Lotvin said in a statement Thursday.
Participating oncologists will have access to a portal built into the e-prescribing workflow in their electronic health record system informing them of Tempus' broad-panel gene sequencing tests at the point of diagnosis. Broad-panel tests, which identify a patient's genomic variants from the norm and suggest personalized therapeutic options, will also be used to match eligible patients to local clinical trials for experimental therapies.
Therapeutic regimens linked to NCCN guidelines will automatically receive prior authorization approval from a patient's payer. Patients do not need to be covered by Aetna to participate.