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CMS this week held a second meeting of the committee, which was formed to assess payment models that can be used in Medicare’s new reimbursement for physicians. The takeaway was that input from physicians is vital for successfully implementing the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act. Acting Administrator, Andy Slavitt, urged these parties to tell them how care models can be turned to the best effect in practice.

Slavitt stressed on the importance of how the new act is implemented, and said, “I think we all know that and you have to help us get out of our box and closer to where care is provided.” MACRA started the committee of 11 members to recommend payment models to the HHS secretary. Models will be submitted to the committee, and then some will be tested. This committee first met in January.

The proposals put out last week come with some details on MACRA, which gives two choices to providers while they move to value-based payment. They can take part in MIPS, or employ a qualifying alternative payment model. Deputy chief of staff, Tim Gronniger, said at the CMS that the agency realizes the criteria for advanced APMs is a strict one. Staff will be looking to find ways to reward those people trying out regular APMs, and also for those trying out difficult models, but ending up unable to complete them. CMS also wishes to ease the transitions these practices will undertake.

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One of the members of the committee, Len Nichols, who also serves as Director of the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics at George Mason University, noted that physicians are cautious in dealing with the reformed model. Still, they approve of the end of the SGR, which has been causing insecurity among providers by making payment rates a legislative issue. “I’m here because I’m really worried about physician morale,” Nichols said, adding that across the nation, physicians he talked to are mostly receptive of the concept of improvement.

Chairman of the committee, Jeff Bailet, who also serves as president of the Aurora Health Care Medical Group, stated that the committee urges creative thinking, and expects enough feedback to aid the success of their proposals. According to him, the body does not want to be perceived as “goalies”, “gatekeepers” or “people to suppress innovation.”

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