Special Capitol Hill Report—Medicare, Payer, MU Changes

JANUARY 30, 2015

New Goals for Medicare, Private Payers to Affect Physicians
On Monday, January 26, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell announced a new effort to reward quality medical care and phase out payments based solely on the volume of services provided in the Medicare program. The agency’s goals include tying:

  • 30 percent of traditional, or fee-for-service, Medicare payments to quality or value through alternative payment models, such as accountable care organizations (ACOs) or bundled payment arrangements by the end of 2016
  • 50 percent of payments to these models by the end of 2018
  • 85 percent of all traditional Medicare payments to quality or value by 2016
  • 90 percent by 2018 through programs such as the Hospital Value Based Purchasing and the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Programs

Concurrently, a number of the largest private payers and regional health systems have established the Health Care Transformation Task Force. Its intention is to shift 75 percent of their business by January 2020 to contracts with incentives for quality and lower-cost health care.

The AAN is developing resources and educating members so they can prepare to participate in these alternative payment models. Members can learn more about the transition toward value-based payments and accountable care organizations through the AAN website. Registration is also available for the March 3 live webinar where members can hear how fellow neurologists are succeeding in new health care models.  The AAN also is building a clinical registry to help ensure that quality reporting is more relevant and easier for members.

Proposed Reporting Changes for Meaningful Use
The AAN has been diligent in its communication with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to advocate for changes to the Meaningful Use program to lessen the burden on our members. Yesterday, CMS announced that they intend to update the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs in 2015. 

CMS is proposing the following changes:

  • Shorten the EHR reporting period in 2015 to 90 days to accommodate these changes
  • Modify other aspects of the program to match long-term goals, reduce complexity, and lessen providers’ reporting burdens  

The proposed changes will remain separate from the Stage 3 proposed rule which is expected to be released early March. The AAN continues to work for you and will continue to advocate on your behalf. Remain up to date on changes to the EHR Incentive Program and other issues relating to health information technology by attending the free course at the 2015 Annual Meeting, All You Need to Know About Health Information Technology to Avoid Taking a HIT.


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