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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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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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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Future of Health CareMACRAMerit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)Value-Based Health Care
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…
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Consumers & PatientsFuture of Health CareValue-Based Health Care
February 7, 2018

Five Lessons from Big Business on Value-Based Health Care

Last year we predicted that CMS would step back from the complex requirements of its Value-Based Health Care initiative, in favor of reducing provider burdens for quality reporting and reducing regulation, in general. While MACRA MIPS and the move toward financial risk still remain, we correctly anticipated that Medicare would focus its efforts on its own beneficiaries—and less on leading the charge for cost control in health care. We hoped that providers would seize the opportunity to take ownership of making health care work better, rather than respond to external requirements. Instead, despite several organizations that have pushed the agenda…
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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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Future of Health CareMedical Decision-MakingPerformance ImprovementQualified Clinical Data Registry ReportingValue-Based Health Care
January 17, 2018

Time Out! How Strategic Pauses Can Enhance Medical Decision-Making to Improve Outcomes 

Health care providers are under increasing pressure to improve outcomes for patients with chronic conditions. There is pressure to meet quality measures, to establish programs that improve outcomes, to decrease costs for these conditions (utilization as an outcome)—or a combination of goals. At issue: what works, what is affordable, what is acceptable to patients and clinicians. The answers are elusive because there are many factors involved in the care of patients who have numerous chronic conditions, co-morbidities and medications, as well as multiple healthcare professionals providing their care. Adding to this complexity, any outcomes improvement for patients with chronic conditions…
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