Abbott Featured in CMS Podcast on Oncology Innovation

August 22, 2022

Maura Abbott, PhD, assistant dean of Clinical Affairs, was featured in a recent Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) podcast highlighting the development of ColumbiaDoctors’ nurse-driven Oncology Care Initiation Unit (OCIU). 

Abbott directs the OCIU, which is staffed by oncology nurse practitioners (NPs) and is dedicated to helping oncology patients receive expedited, appropriate care for their symptoms while avoiding unnecessary emergency room visits and hospital admissions. The unit was launched in participation with the Oncology Care Model (OCM), an episode-based payment system developed by CMS’ Center for Medicaid & Medicare Innovation with the goal of providing higher-quality, more coordinated oncology care at a cost similar to or below that of Medicare services. A total of 126 practices across the U.S. and five commercial payers participate in OCM. 


Along with Danielle Katayen, director of outpatient clinical operations for adult hematology/oncology; and Gary Schwartz, MD, chief of Hematology Oncology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, Abbott discussed how the OCIU was able to send 80-90% of patients back home after treatment in its second year of operation, which coincided with the COVID pandemic. “That’s a pretty dramatic diversion from an emergency room experience back into the home environment,” she noted in the podcast, available for listening here

CUIMC is now planning an expansion of the OCIU.