Bundled payment

Accountable care organizations are urging Congress to extend a dependable bonus payment to physicians that has been used to improve quality of care, advocates say.

The 5% payment supports participants in alternative payment models who meet quality goals, and is set to expire in 2023. The money goes directly to physicians, incentivizing them to join these organizations, FierceHealthCare reported.

The bonus was created under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, and served as “a knowable, plannable and countable dollar,” for physicians, Emily Brower, Sr. VP-clinical integration and physician services for Trinity Health said at the National Association of ACOs fall meeting, which took place Sept. 7–9.

The quality bonus payment is made no matter how the ACO performs on its quality and savings target.

“We see … those dollars as being able to work in tandem with the funding that comes from the ACO,” Brower said, according to FierceHealthCare. 

Brooks-LaSure weighs in

The funding is necessary to keep the value-based care infrastructure in place, one ACO conference speaker said. But the decision is entirely in Congress’ hands, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, told attendees. She encouraged ACO advocates to explain the importance of not only the payments to clinicians, but overall benefits of value-based care when speaking to lawmakers.

The value-based care model is used only in some sectors of healthcare such as long-term care. For this reason, advocates must make a strong case, she said.

“There are so many competing priorities in healthcare and across the government,” she said. “The ones that resonate are the ones that are going to really move the needle. …It is important for you all as you are showing your leadership and members of Congress to really talk about it for what it means for the people we are serving.”

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