In the evolving landscape of today’s healthcare industry, more and more demands are being placed on practice managers and their staff. The Certified Medical Office Manager-Business of Hematology & Oncology (CMOM-HEM/ONC) program is a valuable resource for oncology practice managers who want to gain the knowledge and skills they need to motivate their employees, improve their practice’s financial outlook, and handle administrative issues so that providers can focus on maintaining high-quality care for their patients.
In an exclusive interview with Oncology Practice Management (OPM), Mary Kay Makarewicz, Executive Director, Michigan Society of Hematology and Oncology (MSHO), Troy, MI, and Deborah McNeilance, MBA-HCA, CMC, CMIS, CMOM, CPC, Administrator and CEO, Huron Gastro/Center for Digestive Care, Ypsilanti, MI, discussed the benefits of the CMOM-HEM/ONC course, and explained how the curriculum was developed to help professionals become more effective in their oncology practice management roles.
OPM: What led to MSHO’s decision to partner with Practice Management Institute (PMI) to offer the CMOM-HEM/ONC certification course?
Ms Makarewicz: Ms McNeilance became a CMOM in 2008 and has maintained the credential ever since. As a long-time member of MSHO, she knew the value this course would offer our practice managers and other administrative personnel. In reviewing the course materials, I found the curriculum to be very relevant and was impressed with the breadth of information contained in each module. After obtaining further details through discussions with Michael Moore, PMI Vice President of Business Development, the idea was presented to our manager group and the MSHO Board of Directors. Their feedback was extremely positive.
When Ms McNeilance took the CMOM course, it consisted of 5 modules (Practice Management, Personnel Management, Financial Management, Compliance Requirements, and Managed Care Delivery System). These modules, which were developed by PMI, provide a very comprehensive curriculum that is applicable to the needs of practice managers working in any medical specialty.
The 6th module on the Business of Hematology & Oncology was added as a complement to the original CMOM curriculum. The content in this new module, which covers topics such as physician contracting, oral oncolytics and adherence, GPO and pharmaceutical contracting, the 340b drug program, and palliative care and survivorship, was developed by Ms McNeilance. She has also taken on the responsibility of teaching the CMOM-HEM/ONC course to individuals who want to pursue this additional certification.
Since 2016, we have partnered with PMI to offer the CMOM-HEM/ONC certification course in the state of Michigan. This course has been a go-to resource for professionals who want to run a truly efficient and financially healthy oncology practice.
OPM: What was the rationale for developing the HEM/ONC module?
Ms McNeilance: The management of oncology practices has become very complex. I developed the HEM/ONC module so that we could expand the CMOM curriculum to address the unique challenges facing professionals who work in oncology practices. The topics included in this module were chosen to fill unmet needs that were identified through my own experiences as an administrator, as well as valuable feedback from colleagues and fellow members of MSHO.
For example, we discovered that many managers are not familiar with physician contracting and do not understand the process of putting together a contract. As an administrator in a practice, you need to be aware of the points that the physician recruiter is focusing on to ensure that you are attracting appropriate staff for your office. The identification of this unmet need led to the decision to address the topic of physician contracting in the HEM/ONC module.
We also felt it was important to include a section on oral oncolytics, which are being used more frequently in the treatment of patients with cancer. There are important differences in the way that these newer drugs are handled, coded, and billed compared with traditional infusion drugs, so there is a learning curve that must be addressed.
Additional sections, such as financial toxicity, palliative care and survivorship, and how to use advanced practitioners, are also extremely relevant for oncology practice managers who want to run a state-of-the-art practice.
OPM: Is the CMOM-HEM/ONC course beneficial for seasoned professionals as well as those just starting out as administrators?
Ms McNeilance: I have taught this course to a wide range of professionals, including nursing managers, practice administrators, billing managers, and chief operating officers, many of whom have 20+ years of experience in the field. They have all said that they gained valuable knowledge as a result of taking the course. Many participants have told me that they have gotten a bit off track because they are so busy with the daily demands of running a practice. Taking the course has helped them to stay mindful of responsibilities that may have been placed on the back burner but are critical for running an efficient practice. So, the course is beneficial to all administrators regardless of their level of experience.
Ms Makarewicz: I would also like to mention that the CMOM-HEM/ONC course provides seasoned administrators with valuable information on some of the more recent advances in the field of oncology, such as integration of nurse navigators, and the increased use of oral oncolytics to treat various types of cancer. These are topics that would not have been covered in training that professionals received 10 or 20 years ago when they began their careers.
This course would also be an excellent resource for fellows. During their training, there is, of course, great emphasis placed on clinical knowledge and expertise. However, when oncologists begin practicing in a real-world setting, they also need to know how to navigate the business side of a practice, a topic that may not have been addressed extensively during their training. The CMOM-HEM/ONC curriculum can provide them with the information they need to hone these important skills.
OPM: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about the course?
Ms Makarewicz: We have received positive feedback from our members and plan to continue offering this course to them. We wanted to share this valuable resource with other state societies. That is why this year MSHO sponsored 5 out-of-state oncology administrators (from Alaska, Iowa, Texas, and Washington) to participate in this course (see box for feedback by one of these participants). It is our hope that these administrators will share their experience with their state society leadership and raise awareness of this certification in their states.
PMI currently offers the 5 modules of the CMOM course as an online option, but individuals interested in taking the HEM/ONC module must do so by attending a live session.
Because MSHO sponsors the course for our administrators, we require them to attend live sessions for all the modules, which allows for more interaction among participants as they work through the curriculum.
Ms McNeilance is working with PMI to create an online version of the HEM/ONC course. The goal is to have this available for participants sometime in 2020.