ACOsAdvanced Alternative Payment ModelsRiskValue-Based Health Care
January 9, 2019

Pathways to Success: How CMS is Encouraging ACO Participation Despite Impending Financial Risk

CMS closed 2018 with a farewell to upside-only ACOs. Perhaps the biggest surprise in the “Pathways to Success” Final ACO Rule is its consistency with the Proposed Rule, which floated the revamped ACO Track back in August. Citing superior performance among two-sided participants, as well as the belief that upside-only tracks reduce patient choice and increase costs, CMS has finalized its proposal to push all ACOs into two-sided arrangements. Not coincidentally, this rule was simultaneously released with NextGen ACO model results, which showed that these 44 downside-risk ACOs saved $164 million. The rule, which will go into effect on July…
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ACOsFuture of Health CareValue-Based Health Care
September 5, 2018

Ready or Not, Providers Will Face Risk Under ACOs or Medicare Advantage

In any other industry, companies work hard to interpret purchasing and regulatory trends, and adapt quickly in times of change. Swift action is a hallmark of competitive business; those that linger risk failure. Examples of business adaptation are everywhere: a move to digital applications that help consumers and other purchasers connect and build loyalty; acquisition or spin-off of business services to enhance growth; immediate response to negative press. But in health care, the pace of change at the industry’s core—healthcare organizations and health systems—is slow and barely responsive to the market. Case in point: while government and private health plans…
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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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ACOsFuture of Health CareValue-Based Health Care
May 23, 2018

Tipping Point Test for ACOs: Consent to Financial Risk

Last week the conversation about financial risk for providers in ACOs took on a decidedly different and more contentious tone. After months of CMS reports of ACO growth and success, while retreating on MIPS quality reporting requirements as concessions to “provider burden,” CMS signaled that they were finished waiting for providers to accept financial risk under Value-Based Health Care. With a third of Medicare patients served by an ACO and an even higher number of patients receiving health care via private sector ACOs, the industry seems on track to adopt ACOs as the preferred model of health care contracting and…
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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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Future of Health CareMACRAPatient EmpowermentValue-Based Health Care
July 5, 2017

Who Will Fill the Leadership Void in Health Care Reform if MACRA Rolls Back?

Amidst the political cacophony over health care coverage for American consumers, a fundamental question has been relegated to a soundbite: How can we control cost? Everyone (in the industry or participating in the debate) knows that cost drives our health care system problems, including affordable insurance coverage. The fallacy at the heart of all the wrangling is that we can address coverage affordability without confronting cost. But doing something about cost in a de-regulation environment is exceptionally difficult. That is why we are finding ourselves in the midst of both a MACRA implementation and a likely MACRA Rollback. And no…
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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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