[Q&A] Understand the Key Roles for Effective CCSG Management

April Schultz
October 30th, 2018

During our recent webinar, Understand the Key Roles for Effective CCSG Management, Wendy Tate, Director of Analytics at Forte, outlined how a number of different roles and teams contribute to CCSG management at some of the nation’s leading cancer centers. She also provided tools and tips you can use to effectively communicate across teams and streamline the CCSG application or renewal process at your organization. Here, Wendy answers attendee questions about internal communication plans, changes to the how the NCI views cancer centers, and more. 

 Are NCI-designated cancer centers always affiliated with an (academic) institution?

No, not all centers affiliated with an institution and they are not required to be. According to the CCSG PAR, an NCI-designated center can be a public/state controlled or private institution of higher education, a nonprofit with or without 501(c)(3) IRS status, for-profit organizations, governments or other U.S. organizations. Current examples of NCI-designated organizations that are not part of an academic organization are Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Cancer Center and Mayo Clinic.

 What role do you think is best suited to lead new internal communication plans, or own them long-term?

I think it depends on the organization, but likely it is a member of the administration team who has dedicated effort towards implementing the CCSG successfully. Regardless this person’s role, it should be someone with good communication skills and the ability to organize people to meet the needed goal.  Because of the breadth and depth of the CCSG and the diversity of programs that a designated cancer center manages, this person needs to make sure they have dedicated effort to executing the communication plan. This person also needs to be able to assess and modify the communication plan, as necessary, to ensure information can be best obtained. The goal isn’t to execute the communication plan as outlined, but to obtain the needed information for the CCSG. If the devised communication plan doesn’t do that effectively, it needs to be changed.

 Have there been any recent changes to the way the NCI views cancer centers?

We have heard that, while the definition hasn’t changed, the emphasis on catchment area has increased.  The catchment area is the geographic region (defined by the center and can be based on zip codes, counties, census breakdowns, etc.) that the cancer center serves. It is the primary population that is to benefit from the cancer center. In addition, we recently saw extensive changes to the data tables and the data being collected. Pay attention to those. The NCI is working to consolidate reporting by utilizing CTRP for data table 4, so make sure that is up-to-date and maintained appropriately. The “newly registered patients” census is no longer required in data table 3, which may partner with the emphasis on catchment area, so focus on how your program is impacting all persons in your area, regardless of whether they are seen by your health system or not. Other changes show emphasis in the management of the cores and administrative funds. As I mentioned in the webinar, this is a lot of infrastructure funding, so make sure each section of the administrative core is being justified and properly managed. You can find more about recent changes to the CCSG in this blog post.

 Do all NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers have a CCSG? If a center is not granted their CCSG renewal, do they lose their Comprehensive Cancer Center designation?

Yes, to claim NCI-designation as a cancer center (or comprehensive cancer center), you have to have CCSG funding. There are some cancer centers and comprehensive cancer centers that do not have CCSG funding, but they cannot call themselves “NCI-designated.” If you lose your funding, you lose your NCI-designation. It doesn’t happen often, but it is possible.

Want more answers? 

Watch the free, on-demand webinar, Understand the Key Roles for Effective CCSG Management, to learn more tips for successfully managing contributors and facilitating the CCSG process at your center. Watch the recording today!