Welcome to this week's edition of the The Partnership to Empower Physician-Led Care weekly newsletter, which includes news from our members, legislative and Administration updates, news clips, and studies about value-based care, primary care, and independent physicians.
CMS: (1/12) - CMS is extending the 2020 MIPS Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances Exception Application deadline for COVID-19 until February 1, 2020 to further support clinicians during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
HHS: (1/11) - HHS announced an award of $8 million through HRSA to fund the Telehealth Broadband Pilot program, which assesses the broadband capacity available to rural health care providers and patient communities to improve their access to telehealth services.
CMS: (1/8) - CMMI Director Brad Smith published a year-in-review blog on key accomplishments and lessons learned in 2020. Key highlights included that CMMI announced, finalized, or certified for expansion eight models that will save the Medicare Trust Fund over $5 billion. CMMI also made a number of operational improvements to help prepare the Center to lead the movement towards value-based care in the years ahead.
HHS: (1/8) - HHS issued the final Securing Updated and Necessary Statutory Evaluations Timely (SUNSET) rule, which requires the Department to assess its regulations every ten years to determine whether they are subject to review under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) and whether the regulation is still needed and is having appropriate impacts.
CMS: (1/8) - CMS approved the expansion of the Home Health Value-Based Purchasing (HHVBP) model. THe HHVBP expansion would be implemented through rulemaking no earlier than January 1, 2022.
HHS: (1/7) - HHS announced the extension of the Community Based Testing Site program for COVID-19 testing, through partnership with national pharmacy and retail chains CVS, Rite-Aid, Walgreens, Quest (through services at Walmart) and service provider eTrueNorth (through services at Health Mart and Topco locations). The partnership has resulted in establishing more than 3,300 COVID-19 testing locations.
CMS: (1/6) - CMS released additional frequently asked questions (FAQs) for states related to COVID-19. The FAQs address questions related to 1135 waivers, Medicare blanket waivers, eligibility and enrollment, premiums and cost-sharing, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the optional COVID-19 testing group and others.
HHS: (1/6) - HHS announced two upcoming actions by the CDC to provide more than $22 billion in funding to states, localities, and territories in support of the nation's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than $19 billion will be allocated to support testing, contract tracing, surveillance, containment, and mitigation to monitor and suppress the spread of COVID-19. Over $3 billion will support a range of COVID-19 vaccination activities across jurisdictions.
Rep. Biggs: (1/4) - Rep. Biggs (R-AZ) introduced the Health Coverage Choice Act (H.R. 31), which would provide for a definition of short-term limited-duration insurance, H.R. 32, which would amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for cooperative governing of individual health insurance coverage, and the Protection from Obamacare Mandates and Congressional Equity Act (H.R. 64), which would provide an exemption to the individual mandate to maintain health coverage for individuals residing in counties with fewer than two health insurance issuers offering plans on an Exchange; to require Members of Congress and congressional staff to abide by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act with respect to health insurance coverage.
Fierce Healthcare: (1/7) - While front-line workers across the country began receiving the COVID-19 vaccine last month, many unaffiliated community practices are facing challenges obtaining vaccines for physicians and care teams, says Shawn Martin, executive vice president and CEO at AAFP. Dr. Emily Maxson, chief medical officer at Aledade also noted that the process to obtain vaccines varies state by state, and primary care clinicians are continuing to be dangerously exposed to COVID while caring for patients.
Aledade: (1/6) - This Aledade case study highlights how an independent primary care provider gained more actionable insights into his patients and was paid more appropriately for high-quality work by joining Aledade early in the MSSP performance year.
Aledade: (1/4) - In this episode of Aledade’s the ACO Show, two primary care doctors discuss how they have been able to adapt and innovate during the pandemic, including how they have restructured their practices in order to continue caring for their patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Milbank Memorial Fund: (1/12) - Multipayer primary care demonstration projects are using value-based payment and care delivery reforms to improve quality and reduce unnecessary emergency department and inpatient utilization. To examine precisely what interventions and practice characteristics make a difference in high-performing primary care practices, authors of this blog conducted interviews with high-performing practices in Michigan and collected insights from leading provider groups to identify six themes in qualities shared by such practices.
Healthcare Finance News: (1/11) - Physicians have been experiencing higher incidences of burnout as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, Healthcare Finance News, Healthcare IT News and MobiHealthNews put together a special collection to track what’s being done to ease provider burden, with resources that will be updated throughout the month.
Medical Economics: (1/11) - Medical Economics asked its physician audience which issues would be the biggest challenges they face in 2021. One top theme that emerged was the challenge around transitioning to value-based care models, a trend that was especially true among small independent practices that did not have the resources to operate successfully under value-based contracts.
Healio: (1/11) - A recent survey by the Larry A. Green Center found that only five percent of primary care clinicians reported that their practice had a full COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan in place. Additionally, just 34 percent of clinicians reported their practice had enough staff to administer the vaccine and one in five practices do not have the resources to pay for its proper storage. The article emphasized the need for support from states, public health and private plans to better distribute the vaccines to patients.
Medpage Today: (1/9) - Physician practices across the country are struggling with obtaining information on when they will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine for staff. This op-ed, written by an internist in private practice in Milwaukee, explains the struggles many practices are facing despite providing COVID-related care to patients throughout the pandemic and the sentiment that practices are feeling left out of key communications about vaccine distribution.
American Medical Association: (1/8) - COVID-19 has exacerbated challenges driven by nonmedical issues faced by independent practices that existed prior to the pandemic, such as administrative burdens. This, plus instances of physician practices having to close during the pandemic, has highlighted the need to address private practice sustainability. Ways to take steps toward achieving sustainability could include rethinking operational models, reducing administrative burden, and tackling innovation.
Revcycle Intelligence: (1/7) - Participants in the Vermont All-Payer ACO Model have reported facing implementation challenges resulting from difficulties reimbursing ACOs for value in a primarily fee-for-service payment environment. Despite the challenges, some ACO models in the state have been successful, such as the Vermont ACO SSP which yielded $97 million in savings between 2014 and 2016 relative to spending.
Health Affairs: (1/6) - Few states have passed legislation supporting the transition to value-based payment systems despite some evidence supporting its benefits. As state legislation can be an important lever to increase payer and provider participation in value-based payment initiatives, this article outlines three approaches states can take to achieve this goal.