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Changes Coming in Innovation Center Payment Models

Future Medicare payment models will probably feature less risk for participants and a greater emphasis on health equity.

At least that is the vision shared by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services chief operating officer Jon Blum during a recent conference.

While not backing away from including risk in future value-based purchasing models, CMS and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation Center will probably propose fewer full-risk models, which the agency fears favor wealthier providers that can afford to shoulder more risk to begin with, and a greater focus on reporting race and ethnicity data among future model participants as the federal government works to close equity gaps.

In addition, CMMI will probably simplify its array of payment models and have fewer tracks within those models.

Learn more about the directions CMMI envisions moving with its Medicare alternative pay models in the near future in the Fierce Healthcare article “CMS official:  Don’t expect a lot of fully risk-based payment models going forward.”

“Oh Say Can We See?”: Ways & Means Leaders Seek CMMI Transparency

The chairman and ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee have written to CMS administrator Seema Verma to ask her to address the lack of transparency in the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.

In the bipartisan letter, committee chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) and ranking member Kevin Brady (R-TX) note that “…Congress established CMMI to test different innovative delivery system and payment models to improve quality and reduce costs for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries” but observe that “…significant policy changes made unilaterally by the executive branch without sufficient transparency could yield unintended negative consequences for beneficiaries and the health care community.

Their request:

We strongly urge the Agency to provide more sunshine in this process, all allow Congress, beneficiaries, and stakeholders greater opportunity to provide feedback into the policies that CMMI tests that affect millions of Americans with Medicare.

The letter also poses a series of questions about CMMI’s current endeavors.

Learn more from the letter from Representatives Neal and Brady to CMS administrator Seema Verma.

Group Seeks Preservation, Reform of Federal Innovation Effort

A coalition of 35 patient, physician, and hospital groups has written to new Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price and asked him to continue the federal government’s exploration of new ways to deliver and pay for Medicare services but to seek certain improvements in how those efforts are undertaken.

The coalition Healthcare Leaders for Accountable Innovation in Medicare asked Secretary Price for a reformed Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation so that it operates with

… appropriately-scaled, time-limited demonstration projects, greater transparency, improved data-sharing, and broader collaboration with the private sector.

The coalition also called for CMMI to operate under six guiding principles:

  • foster strong, scientifically valid testing prior to expansion
  • respect Congress’s role in making health policy changes
  • consistently provide transparency and meaningful stakeholder engagement
  • improve data sharing from CMMI testing
  • strengthen beneficiary safeguards
  • collaborate with the private sector

Read the coalition’s entire letter, including a list of the group’s members, here on the web site of the Healthcare Leadership Council.