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Advanced Alternative Payment Model Thresholds

Washington D.C. (Dec, 2020) – Next Generation ACO Coalition participants joined 501 practices across the country today calling on Congressional leaders to act to ensure access to strong financial incentives for clinicians participating in two-sided risk models that deliver high quality, coordinated, cost-effective care.

Congress enacted legislation, the bipartisan Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), establishing an incentive payment for providers who participate in Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs). The law included a 5% Medicare bonus intended to accelerate the transformation away from fee-for-service, volume-based reimbursement. This funding helps clinicians continue to build on the success of these models, driving further innovation that benefits patients. To qualify for the bonus, Advanced APMs must achieve certain revenue or patient count thresholds to demonstrate sufficient shifts to risk-bearing models.

In 2021, both the revenue and patient participation thresholds for the advanced APM bonus are scheduled to significantly increase. Currently, to qualify for the 5 percent bonus clinicians must have 50 percent of payments or 35 percent of patients in an advanced APM. In 2021, the thresholds jump to 75 percent of payments or 50 percent of patients. These dramatic increases will cause many clinicians, including those participating in the highest levels of financial risk available in the Medicare program, to lose the opportunity to qualify for a bonus payment.

“If providers cannot count on receiving these bonus payments, due to unrealistic thresholds, fewer providers will be willing to participate in APMs in the future, exactly the opposite of what MACRA’s authors intended when they drafted the threshold tests” the letter states.

Today, 501 practices, including Next Generation accountable care organizations (ACOs), are calling on Leadership in the House and Senate to freeze the MACRA APM thresholds at the 2020 levels for the next two performance years. “This freeze will give us the flexibility and financial security we need to continue to innovate and improve population health for our patients, as well as to continue to drive forward models that create a fiscally health future for the Medicare program” the letter concludes.

The increased threshold is set to take effect January 1, 2021.

The full letter is available here.

Codify Success of Next Gen Model into Regulatory Full-Risk Offering in Pathways for Success

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 30, 2019) – The Next Generation (Next Gen) Accountable Care Organization Coalition represents 21 of the existing Next Gen ACOs. We appreciate the opportunity to weigh in as you continue to design and implement the future portfolio of performance-based risk models.

The Next Generation ACO model has demonstrated that organizations can be successful in taking two-sided financial risk. The evaluation of the first performance year of Next Gen resulted in an estimated $63 million in net savings or a 1.1 percent decline in Medicare spending while maintaining quality for patients.

Next Gens have successfully implemented care management programs that are improving care for seniors in traditional Medicare. For example, Next Gens have engaged beneficiaries in transitions of care programs, disease management, social work and health enhancement programs, as well as strengthening relationships with primary care providers. As a result of these care redesign initiatives, Next Gens have achieved reduced readmissions rates, reduced non-emergent use of the emergency department; and improved quality for beneficiaries.

The full letter is available here.

Improving Transparency for Innovation Center Models

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Mar. 26, 2019) – The undersigned organizations write to encourage the CMS Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (Innovation Center) to continue to improve transparency and stability as you develop a successful portfolio of payment models. While we appreciate steps the agency has taken, such as hosting stakeholder roundtable discussions to gather input, we ask that the Innovation Center move to a more methodical and public process for releasing and updating payment models.

Like you, our organizations and the members they represent are committed to the move to alternative payment models (APMs), including those with an emphasis on performance-based risk. We agree that many provider groups of various sizes and composition across the country are prepared to make the leap to greater levels of financial and clinical accountability to improve the health of America’s seniors. Provider organizations that have taken the first step toward two-sided risk models have successfully reduced costs and improved care for patients. We are excited to continue to work with the Innovation Center to pursue new models, many of which will feature increasing levels of financial risk and reward. We are confident that this is the right direction to create a sustainable healthcare delivery system for the future.

The full letter is available here.