AONN+ Joins the National Navigation Roundtable in Comment Letter: Proposed Oncology Care First Model Shows Promise but Must Do More to Ensure Quality and Consistency of Patient Navigation

January 2, 2020 | Press Releases | News & Updates

Cranbury, NJ – In a joint letter the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (the Innovation Center), the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Navigators (AONN+) and the National Navigation Roundtable (NNRT) commends the potential Oncology Care First (OCF) model, but shares concerns about its guidelines for patient navigation.

The OCF model strives to encourage more comprehensive oncology practice transformation and provide the opportunity to improve the quality of care and decrease costs for non-Medicare fee-for-service oncology patients through its multipayer aspect. This model builds upon he current Oncology Care Model that the Innovation Center (which sits under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) launched 5 years ago.

According to the Innovation Center’s request for feedback (issued November 1, 2019), the OCF model would “test whether an innovative approach to prospectively paying for management and drug administration services provided by oncology practitioners, together with a total cost of care accountability, reduces program expenditures while preserving or enhancing the quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries with cancer or a cancer-related diagnosis.”

The joint response from NNRT, which included input from AONN+ leaders, commends the Innovation Center for its emphasis on improving the quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries and expresses support for the continued inclusion of patient navigation as an enhanced service in the new OCF model. However, the letter also outlines concerns that these organizations have with regard to the quality and consistency expected from the patient navigators under the OCF model.

In their response, AONN+ and NNRT call upon the Innovation Center to consider changes to the OCF model that would strengthen patient navigation, including:

  • Providing comprehensive information about patient navigation to physician group practices and eventual participants, including the process for identifying patients in need of navigation, the identification of logistical barriers and social needs, and the ability to track patients throughout their care
  • Encouraging physician group practices to designate patient navigators on staff and identify appropriate community partners to assist with services and resources beyond the scope of the enhanced services offered
  • More closely evaluating ho physician group practices implement the patient navigation process and hold practices accountable for this requirement through its evaluation process
  • Working with patient navigation stakeholders to provide physician group practice with ongoing resources to improve the quality of navigation services offered

Read the full response on the Innovation Center’s Oncology Care First Model.

About the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigator® (
The Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators, Inc. (AONN+) is the largest national specialty organization dedicated to improving patient care and quality of life by defining, enhancing, and promoting the role of oncology nurse and patient navigators. The organization, which has more than 8,600 members, was founded in 2009 to provide a network for all professionals involved and interested in patient navigation and survivorship care services in order to better manage the complexities of the cancer treatment process.

The Journal of Oncology Navigation & Survivorship® ( is the official publication of AONN+. JONS seeks to strengthen the role of nurse and patient navigators in cancer care by serving as a platform for these professionals to disseminate original research findings, exchange best practices, and find support for their growing community.

CONQUER: The Patient Voice Magazine ( is the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators’ (AONN+) premier forum for patients with cancer. CONQUER features articles written by and for patients with cancer, survivors, nurse navigators, and other oncology team members. This magazine addresses the issue that patients, their family members, and caregivers face every day in an easy-to-read format. Issues include interviews with patients with cancer, information on access to care, and articles on lifestyle topics such as nutrition, stress management, personal finance, and legal and employer issues. CONQUER also features patient stories that are nominated for the AONN+ HERO OF HOPE award, which is resented at the AONN+ Annual Conference. All stories are compiled in a special issue CONQUER at the end of the year.

About the National Navigation Round Table (
The NNRT is a national coalition of public, private, and voluntary organizations whose mission is to advance navigation efforts that eliminate barriers to quality cancer care, reduce disparities in health outcomes and foster ongoing health equity. The NNRT focuses on navigation through the cancer lens and across the cancer continuum (from prevention to survivorship).

Gwen Coverdale, 267-884-6328
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