ACOsAlternative Payment Models (APM)Future of Health CareMedicareValue-Based Health Care
September 12, 2018

The ACO Challenge: Your Essential Reading List to Prepare for Risk

The concept behind Accountable Care Organizations remains reasonable: Groups of health care providers take responsibility for total cost and quality of care for the patients and receive, in return, a portion of any savings they achieve. But as CMS Administrator Seema Verma made clear in announcing the Proposed ACO Final Rule last month, “Medicare cannot afford to support programs with weak incentives that do not deliver value. ACOs can be an important component of a system that increases the quality of care while decreasing costs; however, most Medicare ACOs do not currently face any financial consequences when costs go up,…
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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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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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ACOsAlternative Payment Models (APM)Consumers & PatientsMedical Decision-MakingValue-Based Health Care
June 6, 2018

Where’s the Value for Physicians in VBHC? Four Strategies for ACOs and Other APMs

When we talk about “value” in Value-Based Health Care (VBHC), we’re referring to the high-quality/lower-cost services that buyers want from health care providers. Who are the buyers? Health plans, Medicare and other governmental purchasers, plus employers (for the most part, the term is notably not interpreted to include patients). What do buyers want? “Truth in purchasing” for the best health care they can get. Indeed, the very term “Value-Based Health Care” implies that buyers are on a righteous quest for good care from irresponsible providers. Provider organizations, in turn, have sometimes adopted a similar attitude toward physicians. The generation of…
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ACOsAlternative Payment Models (APM)Consumers & PatientsFuture of Health Care
March 28, 2018

Reluctant Providers Can Benefit from Fresh Approach to ACOs

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…
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Alternative Payment Models (APM)Bundled PaymentsFuture of Health CarePerformance ImprovementValue-Based Health Care
January 24, 2018

BPCI Advanced Means Financial Risk Is Coming for Specialists

In case you missed Medicare’s messages about its reimbursement direction in recent years, CMS just reminded us that financial risk is well on its way. If you’re developing strategies that assume the status quo, it’s time to reassess your organization’s financial footing. CMS has already stated its intention to shift 50 percent of Medicare provider reimbursement into Alternative Payment Models (APMs) by the end of this calendar year. And those APMs are quickly transitioning toward putting providers at financial risk, because CMS is rewarding them to do so. CMS’s goal to impose financial risk was front and center again this…
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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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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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Alternative Payment Models (APM)Future of Health CareMACRAMerit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)Performance ImprovementQualified Clinical Data Registry ReportingValue-Based Health Care
August 16, 2017

How to Evolve MACRA MIPS Quality Reporting for Better Physician and Patient Value

Critics are pushing back against Medicare quality reporting, deeming it burdensome and time-consuming to meet confusing quality measures. One survey asserts that barely a majority feel knowledgeable about MACRA or prepared to achieve long-term success. Indeed, CMS is pulling back on program requirements, with the stated desire of making it easier for physicians. So, here's what should be examined—especially when discussing Value-Based Health Care: Does MIPS Quality Reporting meet the benefit test for the effort expended by physicians and their staff? If the point of Quality Measurement and Reporting is to improve care for patients, can it fulfill that potential?…
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Alternative Payment Models (APM)Clinical Data RegistryMerit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)Qualified Clinical Data Registry ReportingValue-Based Health Care
June 28, 2017

10 Takeaways from the Proposed Rule for MIPS and APMs Year 2

We are already more than halfway through the initial year of Medicare’s new Quality Payment Program, which includes MIPS and APMs. Yet already we are seeing some changes from the new administration that will relax requirements for providers, eliminating the need for some to participate and making quality reporting, in particular, easier. Regardless of how Medicare plays these rules, top providers should maintain a strong strategic focus on Value-Based Health Care initiatives that emphasize performance improvement in cost and quality. Even as Medicare may step back from the leadership role it has taken in this arena, private insurance and employers…
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