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US Oncology Launches New Services Division: Innovent Oncology

Practice-Centric Programs to Help Payers and Providers Contain Costs and

Improve Patient Outcomes Together

HOUSTON, Sept. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- US Oncology, Inc. today announced the launch of Innovent Oncology, a service division that offers a first-time opportunity for oncologists and health plans to work together through integrated programs designed specifically for the complexity of cancer care. With a unique focus on supporting the entire patient cancer care continuum, Innovent Oncology offers payers and oncologists solutions that combine evidence-based treatment guidelines, patient support services and advance care planning to improve clinical outcomes while addressing costs.

"We all want the same thing -- the most effective, compassionate care possible for cancer patients and their families as they go through what can be a very frightening experience," says Michael A. Kolodziej, MD, medical director for US Oncology and medical oncologist with New York Oncology Hematology. "This comprehensive approach helps providers and payers work together to focus on patient services in a way that will improve patient care and manage costs at the same time."

The need to contain cancer costs while continuing to advance clinical science and care is growing more urgent every year. Cancer treatment costs are expected to exceed $100 billion by 2010 with absenteeism, lost productivity and other costs expected to exceed $300 billion in that same year(1). Every year 1.5 million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer. Each of the 300 different cancer types requires its own approach to diagnosis and treatment, while a host of emerging therapies are creating even more treatment options. The associated costs are nearing a breaking point that threatens patient access to care.

Innovent Oncology offers an integrated solution that is the only comprehensive program addressing the primary cancer care cost drivers including: the wide variation in treatment selection, side effects that prompt ER visits and hospitalizations, and ineffective interventions near the end of life.

The core services offered include:

-- Level I Pathways: Physician-developed, evidence-based pathways that reduce treatment variability and resulting costs while providing a platform for standardization, outcomes measurement and ongoing peer review.

-- Patient Support Services: An oncology-specific disease management program that increases treatment compliance, helps patients monitor and manage side effects, and reduces unnecessary ER visits and hospitalizations.

-- Advance Care Planning: Transition care planning and implementation that prepares patients early in their care process for potential end-of-life issues by addressing clinical, social, financial and spiritual needs.

Innovent Oncology serves as the nexus between provider and payer. It bundles the core services and offers them to health plans on a per participant basis. By integrating these services, payers benefit from the valuable insight available through enhanced data capture and analysis, outcomes measurement and utilization review. The integrated approach increases efficiency and aligns payer and provider financial incentives.

Innovent Oncology supports oncologists, both outside and within the US Oncology network of member practices, by providing access to clinical decision making tools and enhanced patient support and education. Physicians connect to the program via an internet portal where summary diagnoses, staging and line-of-therapy data can be submitted to determine appropriate Level I Pathways evidence-based treatment guidelines. The portal is also used to enroll patients in the Patient Support Services program. In addition to gaining access to cancer treatment tools and resources that benefit their patients, participating physicians also receive compensation for voluntary compliance with Level I Pathways and utilization of the Patient Support Services program.

"We've worked with oncologists and payers nationwide to develop this program," says Dr. Marcus Neubauer, Chairman of US Oncology's Level I Pathways committee and medical oncologist with Kansas City Cancer Centers. "The physicians affiliated with US Oncology developed evidence-based treatment pathways several years ago to reduce the high variability of drug utilization during treatment, but this program goes well beyond drug utilization in its quest for improved quality and reduced costs."

Innovent Oncology services were developed and have been in practical, community-based application for more than three years within the US Oncology network of member practices. While developed in the community setting, where more than 80 percent of the cancer care is delivered, this integrated approach to care is also applicable and easily implemented in hospital and academic settings.

"The strength of this program is the complete integration of payer and provider effort right in the physician's office," according to Kathy Lokay, Senior Vice President of Integrated Clinical Services for US Oncology. "Everyone wants clinically effective, cost-efficient care but, without true integration, there's either a duplication of effort or a communications gap that results in inefficiencies and a less than optimal patient experience."

About US Oncology

US Oncology, headquartered in Houston, works closely with physicians, manufacturers and payers to identify and deliver innovative services that enhance patient access to advanced cancer care. US Oncology supports one of the nation's foremost cancer treatment and research networks, accelerating the availability and use of evidence-based medicine and shared best practices.

US Oncology's expertise in supporting every aspect of the cancer care delivery system-from drug development to treatment and outcomes measurement-enables the company to help increase the efficiency and safety of cancer care. According to the company's last quarterly earnings report, US Oncology is affiliated with 1,220 physicians operating in 480 locations, including 92 radiation oncology facilities in 39 states. For more information, visit the company's Web site,

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(1) Based on American Cancer Society data for 2007 costs using an annual

cancer cost growth rate of 8 percent.

SOURCE US Oncology, Inc.
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