Agencies that accredit health plans and other providers could build compliance with the recommended consultation into their evaluation criteria (see discussion of quality measures in chapter 4). With 61 percent of cancer survivors aged 65 and older, the Medicare program could play a key role in ensuring that the survivorship care plan is written, communicated, and reimbursed. A formal assessment of survivorship care planning should be undertaken to assess its value.
Survivorship care plans have been recommended by the President’s Cancer Panel and by the IOM committee; however, the implementation of such plans has not yet been formally evaluated. Despite the lack of evidence to support the use of survivorship care plans, the committee concluded that some elements of care simply make sense—that is, they have strong face validity and can reasonably be assumed to improve care unless and until evidence accumulates to the contrary. Having an agreed upon care plan that outlines goals of care falls into this “common sense” area. Health services research should be undertaken to assess the impact and costs associated with survivorship care plans and to evaluate their acceptance by both cancer survivors and health care providers.