March 28, 2018
It’s no secret that CMS wants to move providers away from MIPS and the Fee-for-Service payment system, toward an Alternative Payment Model (APM) like an Accountable Care Organization (ACO). This past January’s announcement of an additional 124 new ACOs implies that we have reached a tipping point, with ACOs becoming more prevalent than standard Fee-for-Service payments. But that optimism overstates the status of ACOs, both in terms of numbers and success. Despite a steady increase of new ACO approvals and ACO provider participation—including an attractive 5 percent bonus for providers who participate in an Advanced APM (AAPM) with financial risk—the…Read More
March 21, 2018
Five Ways Medicare’s Patient Data-Sharing Will Rock Health Care
Medicare came closer to fulfilling its promise of patient data-sharing last week with the announcement of bundled initiatives to connect health care consumers with their health care data. First, the Trump administration announced the launch of myHealthEData, a government-wide initiative designed to permit patients to control their healthcare data and determine how it can be used. Several federal agencies will be involved: CMS, Veterans Affairs, ONC and the National Institutes of Health, all under the direction of the White House Office for American Innovation. The effort is designed to break down barriers that limit or block patients’ access to their…Read More
March 14, 2018
Can Provider-Led ACOs and AAPMs Deliver Health Care Transformation?
“In times of rapid change, experience could be your worst enemy,” said J. Paul Getty. He might have been giving us advice on how to transform health care. We have reached the tipping point for broader adoption of ACOs and other Advanced Alternative Payment Models (AAPMs) to organize health care and payment under both Medicare and commercial insurance. But our recent experience cannot tell us whether these approaches will work. This, despite the fact that an estimated 10 percent of insured individuals—32 million people—were already covered by private and public ACO services in mid-2017. And we reached that point even…Read More
March 7, 2018
Who Wins and Loses If CMS Kills MIPS?
Last month, the new Health and Human Services (HHS) Administrator, Alex Azar, tolled the death knell on MACRA MIPS quality reporting. Even as the MIPS program just began its second year, Azar reinforced what MedPAC (Medicare Payment Advisory Commission) has been suggesting since June 2017: trash MIPS quality reporting and speed up provider transition to APMs (Alternative Payment Models). MedPAC is so eager to engineer this that it recently suggested even more incentives to help physicians make the switch. If you believe the hype, both providers and patients will win if MIPS is eliminated or vastly rewritten. Certainly, the notion…Read More