US Oncology has got the backs (and the back offices) of more than 1,000 oncologists across the US. Operating as The US Oncology Network, the firm provides management and support services to some 550 oncology practices and radiation treatment centers; it also operates about 80 fully integrated cancer centers. The company's range of management services includes billing, recruiting, data management, purchasing, and accounting. It also offers separate drug supply services, including purchasing negotiations and distribution, for specialty cancer drugs. US Oncology is the primary operating entity of McKesson Specialty Health, a division of drug distribution giant McKesson.
The company was acquired by McKesson in late 2010 through a $2.2 billion cash-and-debt transaction. Prior to the purchase, investment firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe owned more than 70% of US Oncology. McKesson acquired US Oncology to bolster its own existing specialty drug distribution operations, as well as to enter the new business field of oncology practice management services. Following the acquisition, McKesson combined US Oncology with its existing specialty pharmaceuticals division. It then made US Oncology's main location the headquarters of the combined Specialty Health business, which also distributes drugs to rheumatologists, dialysis clinics, vaccination centers, and other specialist physicians.
US Oncology primarily serves independent practitioners through either a comprehensive management package or by providing select offerings on a fee-for-service basis. In addition to administrative and accounting tasks, US Oncology provides a number of technology resources to help oncologists coordinate patient care. Clients can also elect to only participate in the pharmaceutical distribution segment, as well as in the complementary medication management and prescription processing programs.
US Oncology's fully integrated group of centers are typically affiliated practices that the company has helped to expand into full-fledged cancer treatment centers. US Oncology either leases or holds an ownership stake in the centers. The company has helped develop more than 80 such cancer centers. The company provides development capital and shepherds its medical practices through the process of negotiating regulatory issues, building the facilities, and setting up operations.
Along with its services aimed at cancer doctors, the company serves pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms by designing and supervising cancer-related clinical trials through its US Oncology Research division. It enlists its affiliated physicians in the trials, thus giving them access to the latest available treatments. The company also provides services to insurance companies to help them avoid unnecessary care costs.
US Oncology is continuing on with existing growth strategies under the McKesson organization, including its efforts to steadily expand its network of affiliated practices both in existing and new markets. For instance, in 2011 and 2012 it added oncology practices and affiliates in Missouri, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Through McKesson's broader distribution network and resources, US Oncology is also able to expand its drug distribution and mail-order operations for oncologists.
McKesson has also used the company's IT resources as a platform for growth by extending US Oncology's iKnowMed electronic health record (EHR) platform offerings to other customers in the Specialty Health segment. Likewise, US Oncology is offering other McKesson specialty technology programs, such as the Lynx inventory management system (originally designed for infusion clinics) to its oncology customers. – less