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OBR OncologyOncology Leader Calls for Antitrust Probe: “We’re Talking About People’s Lives”

Cyberattack Sparks Antitrust Concerns Among Community Oncologists

At the 2024 Community Oncology Conference, community oncologists, led by Dr. Barbara McAneny, discussed the substantial impacts of the recent cyberattack on Change Healthcare. This incident not only disrupted clinical operations but also raised significant antitrust issues, highlighting the vulnerabilities and challenges within the healthcare sector, particularly for practices striving to maintain independence.

Key Points:

  • The Change Healthcare cyberattack has significantly disrupted community oncology practices, spotlighting the necessity of robust cybersecurity measures in healthcare.
  • Dr. Barbara McAneny, a key figure at the conference, emphasized the antitrust implications of the Change Healthcare and Optum merger, which she believes exacerbated the fallout from the cyberattack.
  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had previously attempted to block the merger between Change Healthcare and Optum, citing concerns about vertical integration and its potential to stifle competition and choice within healthcare markets.
  • Dr. McAneny critiqued the current direction of value-based care models, particularly the Enhancing Oncology Model (EOM), suggesting a need for more diverse and locally tailored approaches.
  • She advocates for value-based care that prioritizes patient benefits, suggesting collaborations with local payers and employers to enhance outcomes and reduce costs.
  • Non-medical support systems, like the triage pathways developed during the COME HOME program, have proven effective in her practice by facilitating rapid response to patient needs and potentially reducing hospital admissions.
  • Dr. McAneny recommends that these strategies, which allow for immediate patient care and support, could be applicable to other specialties dealing with chronic diseases.

“We’re not making widgets here. We’re talking about people’s lives, and we cannot gamble it all on one company that gets so big and so profitable that they control everything.”
– Dr. Barbara McAneny

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