OneOncology incorporated yet another community oncology provider, Los Angeles Cancer Network (LACN), into its growing network nationwide. This private equity-based group is developing an important model. OneOncology, on the one hand, seeks to embrace the realities of the need for scale, competition position and the ability to effectively manage a myriad of economic, regulatory/political and healthcare pressures associated with the U.S. healthcare system; while on the other hand, as part of its private equity investment thesis, is committed to the local: the community and the individual patient in that community setting. What a critical and important balancing act! Private equity can be a positive or a negative, it all depends on the people involved, investor expectations and the investment thesis. Transactional minded models seek to drive and maximize efficiency and value for investors over provider, community and patient. While, on the other hand, some private equity groups seek win-win-win scenarios: developing models to drive return on investment for investor while in parallel steadfastly commit, as part of the investment thesis, to ensure the provider, community and patient continue to enjoy the best localized care possible. In fact, in this latter model, with scale comes greater access to advanced care in the form of clinical trials, for example, which can extend and even save patient lives. Hence, TrialSite posits the importance of the OneOncology model and its success as it mobilizes private equity capital to continue the expansion of its network—which just got bigger with the expansion into California with the Los Angeles Cancer Network (LACN).
TrialSite believes that OneOncology’s model of private equity-based expansion, scale, efficiency—boosting competitive prowess in what can be an exceedingly administratively and regulatory complex, expensive and litigious world of the U.S. health care environment, combined with an absolute and unwavering commitment to superior community care and experience is a critically important experiment. Hence the provider network is monitored by TrialSite not only to observe ongoing execution of growth thesis but also as a portal into the world of the community-driven clinical research as a care option to cancer patients nationwide. What did this partnership bring the two parties, that is, OneOncology and Los Angeles Cancer Network?
CEO Dr. Patton Summarizes the Underlying Partnership Theme
Commenting on this latest event, CEO Jeff Patton, MD, commented to the world, “LACN is an incredible practice built by a dedicated team who have all created a culture of providing excellent patient-centered oncology care throughout the Los Angeles area.” Now that LACN is part of the OneOncology national network, Dr. Patton continued, “We’re very excited to help LACN grow in California and have their physicians and care teams contribute to advancing oncology care throughout the country as part of our partnership. Having LACN join OneOncology—especially against the headwinds of a pandemic—also reflects the strength of our model to physicians who want to remain independent and retain local decision-making authority but understand in order to thrive a practice requires economies of scale and intelligence that a partnership like ours delivers.”
What is LACN?
LACN is a community cancer provider consisting of 18 providers who care for patients at nine locations throughout the greater Los Angeles area. The independently owned practice treats more than 2,500 patients annually along with the continuum of care from screening and diagnosis to cutting-edge therapies and clinical trials to survivorship or end-of-life-care.
How does the OneOncology Partnership benefit LACN?
LACN gains access to a robust clinical and technological platform, a team with experience and importantly capital to help navigate through the future of oncology care, and the power of the network to achieve their long-term strategic goals. By teaming with OneOncology, LACN now has the opportunity to accelerate a vision: to grow a thriving community oncology care model in the complex Southern California healthcare marketplace.
OneOncology partner practices now over 470 providers caring for approximately 220,000 cancer patients at 148 locations from coast to coast. TrialSite can emphasize here the power of capital (money) in the era of COVID-19. As Dr. Patton identified, the headwinds associated with COVID-19 are strong: all signs lead to a very difficult economic road ahead. Independent practices that don’t possess sufficient capital to withstand pandemic times and beyond will have a difficult time thriving.
What does OneOncology Network Gain with LACN Partnership?
First and foremost, OneOnclogy wasn’t tapped into Southern California until now. What an important beachhead. Los Angeles is America’s second largest city and certainly an important place: one that influences cultures and societies around the word. The LA greater metropolitan area has over 20 million residents and if it was its own economy its GDP would be the size of some mid-sized nations. The world’s entertainment capital (and hence highly influential from a cultural perspective), its economy cuts across important sectors from finance and energy to manufacturing and technology.
That’s the setting for LACN which has served this community for more than 30 years as a recognized leader in advancing value-based and community oncology care. This has been led by an impressive chief: John Gota, LACN’s CEO. As it turns out, Gota, who comes out of a business rather than medical background, stepped in to help manage a successful, highly respected community oncology practice that his father founded over three decades ago. The practice has grown under the natural business leader.
Centers of Excellence for Value-based Care
LACN has developed a successful practice, participating within the Oncology Care Model (OCM). Driven by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMS Innovation Center), this novel payment and delivery model is designed to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of specialty care. The OCM aims to offer higher quality, more highly coordinated oncology care at the same or lower cost to Medicare. Under OCM, physician practices such as LACN enter into payment arrangements that include financial and performance accountability for episodes of care involving chemotherapy administration to cancer patients. Hence, LACN can infuse this expertise of critically important Medicare-driven value-based care models into other OneOncology practices around the country.
Clinical Research as a Care Option Movement in Oncology
Cancer care increasingly embraces the clinical research as a care movement. Why? Because with so many advanced oncology therapies in the biotech and pharmaceutical pipeline, real breakthroughs usher in heretofore not conceivable gains in the war against cancer. Clinical trials not only lead to advances in the diagnosis and treatment of a number of forms of cancer but also afford doctors the ability to track the effectiveness of treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy across many patient types over periods of time.
LACN Clinical Trials Program
Under Gota’s pragmatic, business leadership LACN made some good moves including partnering with the Southern California Oncology Research Alliance (SCORA) to offer community cancer patients access to advanced therapies and treatments available only in clinical trials.
Via this joint collaborative the partnership offers a variety of clinical trials programs for the development of new and effective anti-cancer medications. The duo offer access to Phase 2, 3 and 4 cancer clinical trials. The TrialSite couldn’t’ find SCORA’s website so there will be follow up analysis on this localized Southern California network.
As OneOncology expands its network to hundreds of thousands of cancer patients while combining its centralized systems and processes, its ability to offer research options represents not only a powerful way to help patients and inform providers but also open up new revenue opportunities.
OneOncology is a national partnership of independent, community oncology practices working together to improve the lives of everyone living with cancer through a physician-led, data-driven, technology-powered and patient-centric model. OneOncology is comprised of leading community oncology practices representing over 470 providers practicing at nearly 148 sites of care across the United States.