ACOsFuture of Health CareValue-Based Health Care
August 15, 2018

Proposed ACO Final Rule: 10 Essential Takeaways from “Pathways to Success”

The Final Rule for the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) Accountable Care Organization (ACO)  has been released, the first real revision since the program’s inception. Introducing the proposed rule, CMS stated that it is time to put real ‘accountability’ in Accountable Care Organizations, and this means that ACOs need to accept financial risk. The theme behind Pathways to Success is to end the one-sided risk model. ACO Savings Success Was Zero-to-Limited Under the Savings-Only Model Although ACOs were supposed to curb healthcare spending, data released earlier this year showed that CMS actually spent $384 million more, rather than saving $1.7…
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Alternative Payment Models (APM)Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)Qualified Clinical Data Registry ReportingValue-Based Health Care
July 25, 2018

The Proposed 2019 Quality Payment Program (QPP) Rule: What You May Have Missed

Whoever said bureaucracy doesn’t foster change did not anticipate CMS’s Proposed Rule for the Quality Payment Program (QPP), 2019 performance year version, released on July 12. While the familiar overarching structure of MIPS remains, there are a number of revisions that activate newly developed policies. These include “Patients Over Paperwork” and “Meaningful Measures” efforts that CMS initiated in 2018 to streamline the requirements-heavy MIPS program. To be honest, there are some rough patches within the wrangling of old and new MIPS provisions in the 1,473 page 2019 Medicare Physician Schedule Proposed Rule, set to be published in the Federal Register…
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ACOsClinical Data RegistryMerit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)Performance ImprovementValue-Based Health Care
July 18, 2018

No More MIPS Cost Score Details? 5 Ways Providers Can Still Take Control of Costs

CMS is urging providers to participate in ACOs with downside risk, but they might be eliminating one of the keys that providers need to prepare. It couldn’t come at a worse time, when providers already stand to lose under risk-based models if they can’t identify where their cost issues lie. That data is only available from claims data made available by payers. Up until now, practices have had access to indispensable data on costs that are attributed to their providers, showing specifics of where they are above the norm. These were previously part of Quality and Resource Use Reports (QRURs)…
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ACOsAdvanced Alternative Payment ModelsAlternative Payment Models (APM)MedicareMerit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)Value-Based Health Care
June 13, 2018

Medicare Paths to Value-Based Health Care: Which Way is Up?

If you’re scratching your head about the direction of Value-Based Health Care (VBHC) in Medicare, you’re not alone. The current mix includes a swirl of separate initiatives, some new and others recently re-labled. As CMS pushes toward VBHC, providers may feel confused and frustrated as concepts emerge that will affect multiple programs. Within the last several months, the Patients Over Paperwork and Meaningful Measures initiatives have shaken up CMS value-based care programs, particularly: Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) Medicare Shared Savings Program ACOs (MSSP ACOs) Direct Provider Contracting (DPC) Even more confounding, CMS is taking a non-linear development path for…
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ACOsConsumers & PatientsFuture of Health CareValue-Based Health Care
April 18, 2018

Unify ACO Quality and Cost Initiatives to Boost Long-term Results

Let’s face it. There’s a pretty low bar to meeting Medicare’s ACO Quality requirements. Most ACOs have achieved acceptable quality performance for Medicare Shared Savings Plans (MSSPs).  They have not, however, achieved the savings needed to be successful. ACO supporters point to the “Triple Aim” of achieving higher quality, cost savings and good patient experience through an ACO. To fulfill that tripartite goal, we must look past the hype and execute quality-cost initiatives that go well beyond CMS requirements. Recognize the Gap Between Quality Reporting Requirements and Quality Care Demonstrating quality and reducing costs are not mutually exclusive. While there…
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ACOsAdvanced Alternative Payment ModelsFuture of Health CareValue-Based Health Care
April 4, 2018

ACO Economics 101: Optimize the Physician Network For Patient Choice

The inaugural MIPS 2017 submission period closed in a fog of uncertainty. The demise of MIPS looms on the horizon, with little discussion of opportunities for improvement. Heath and Human Services Secretary Azar has advocated for removing the quality reporting component of MIPS, while the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC) recommended scrapping MIPS altogether and pushed for a transition to Alternate Payment Models . Note that neither of these recommendations advocate a return to a simple Fee for Service model—it is not sustainable financially. Value-Based Health Care is here to stay, but Advanced Alternate Payment Models (AAPMs) with financial risk are…
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Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)Performance ImprovementQualified Clinical Data Registry ReportingValue-Based Health Care
November 29, 2017

Convention Lesson: MIPS Improvement Activities Are Woefully Misunderstood

With only a month left of 2017, practices should be wrapping up their Improvement Activities. MIPS requires at least 90 consecutive days of participation in order for a group or clinician to attest that an Improvement Activity is complete—meaning that the last day to start was October 2. The Improvement Activity portion of MIPS is the only component that is not a direct descendant of a previous program, increasing the challenge of implementation. Recently, we attended a national conference for those in healthcare practice and administration; one of our goals was to learn more about how practices were adapting to…
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Alternative Payment Models (APM)MACRAMerit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)Value-Based Health Care
November 8, 2017

The 2018 Quality Payment Program Final Rule: What You Need to Know

Halloween may be over, but CMS has given us one more scare—a 1,653-page Final Rule for Year 2 of the Quality Payment Program. The Proposed Rule represents the next phase of the transition into a full-fledged Quality Payment Program. For eligible providers, more is required to avoid penalties, but CMS has defined the process to favor those making efforts to avoid penalties. Of course, the program is designed to facilitate improvement—not just to meet a minimum participation threshold. Success will not be quantified in terms of avoiding penalties but, rather, by demonstrating exceptional performance and improvement. With these guidelines established…
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MACRAMerit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)Qualified Clinical Data Registry Reporting
September 6, 2017

October 2 Is Almost Here: Are You MIPS-Ready?

Calendar check! October 2, the last chance to start your continuous 90-day participation in MIPS, is nearly here. Those who meet minimum standards in the “Pick Your Pace” transition year will avoid a whopping 4 percent penalty on their 2019 Medicare Part B reimbursements. Those who exceed these requirements and perform strongly in MIPS stand to earn incentive payments on top of the regular reimbursement schedule. To make sure that you’re among those who will earn incentives (or at least avoid penalties), take an opportunity to review MIPS requirements, assess what’s in place and close the remaining gaps. What Do…
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Alternative Payment Models (APM)MACRAMerit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)Value-Based Health Care
August 23, 2017

CMS Eliminates Episode Groups in MIPS Cost Tracking for 2018—But Providers Should Not

It’s no surprise that Cost is one of the most significant targets of Medicare Value-Based Health Care initiatives, as well as those in the private sector. So it was a real surprise last month to learn that CMS would delay weighing Cost as a component of MACRA MIPS total scoring. Equally significant is the CMS plan to scrap the ten episodic cost measures that were part of the cost calculation for provider groups in exchange for new, “to be determined” versions. Does this retreat from Cost and episodic costs calculation signal a big shift in the direction of Medicare Value-Based…
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