Coram, a specialty pharmacy and infusion care business under CVS Health, is partnering with the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) to offer in-home chemotherapy to cancer patients. The partnership is a significant next step for at-home cancer care.
Initially, the two entities will provide chemotherapy to clinically eligible and fully insured CTCA patients through a pilot program in the Atlanta area. The partnership will leverage Coram — a specialty CVS branch that delivers infusion therapy services — as well as CTCA’s experience as a top oncology care provider.
Home infusion specialty services have been positioned for expansion into chemotherapy as they have been integrating into payer infrastructures over time. The main goal of the effort is to keep immunocompromised patients away from the COVID-19 virus which has created a significant health risk for those receiving infusion services traditionally administered in the hospital or hospital clinic settings.
Other companies have been accelerating their efforts to offer home-based chemotherapy including UnitedHealth’s Optum® Infusion Pharmacy who has been working to administer high-quality, cost-effective infusion therapies for acute and chronic conditions in the comfort of a home or a conveniently located infusion suite.
Also, Penn Medicine launched the Cancer Care at Home (CC@H) program in November 2019 to demonstrate that many infused or injected cancer drugs could be delivered safely at home, in addition to hospital or outpatient settings.
The Covid-19 pandemic propelled Penn Medicine to accelerate CC@H with three goals: continue cancer treatment for immunocompromised patients while keeping them out of health care facilities, decrease density in infusion suites, and increase hospital capacity for Covid-19 and other patients. Over a seven-week period in late March and April 2020, CC@H saw a 700% increase in home infusion referrals for patients with cancer, from 39 to 310 patients.
CVS Health partnered with UCLA Health in April 2020 to ease the burden on hospitals during the COVID-19 crisis by increasing its home-based care capacity. That move specifically allowed Coram to increase its capabilities. The specialty branch now serves more than 205,000 patients in home-based and outpatient settings per year.
Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) is a national, comprehensive cancer care network, with five hospitals around the country and a growing footprint of Outpatient Care Centers and other locations. Founded in 1988 on a personalized, patient-centered approach to cancer care, CTCA® is dedicated to tailoring a combination of cancer treatments to the needs of each individual patient.
Coram, a subsidiary of CVS Health, is a leading provider of home infusion and tube feeding therapy for more than 50,000 patients each month. With more than 35 years of experience, it is the only national home infusion provider accredited by The Joint Commission.
Takeaway: The COVID-19 pandemic is driving the delivery of healthcare to alternative sites of care, with home-based chemotherapy treatment offering many benefits with oversight of medical regimens