Tag Archives: Accountable Care Organization

My Interview on the “Unlocking Accountable Care” Podcast

I recently had the pleasure of joining Emily R. George on her Podcast Unlocking Accountable Care where I shared my thoughts about giving communities a mechanism to create interventions to improve their own health. In the value-based world, health care providers are trying to keep people healthy and are incentivized to do so, but what if we shift some of that responsibility and those incentive dollars to the communities themselves?

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ACOs and Value Based Care: The Best of Times Or The Worst of Times? It Depends!

By Fred Goldstein, MS and Gregg Masters, MPH

This past year has seen major changes to the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) that launched the huge growth in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) a principal workhorse in the transformational copy of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  It seems that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the industry had a difference of opinion as to how successful ACO’s were under the original model, and of course CMS won.

The argument had to do with just how well the ACOs involved in the Medicare Shared Savings Program Track one participants were doing.  For those new to this, the Track 1 model were the least risky model, with most ACOs choosing this upside risk or shared savings only track which had a term of six years before they had to begin taking on two sided risk.

CMS looked at the 2016 data and was seeing limited savings particularly with the overwhelming majority of participating ACOs enrolled in this track. In May of 2018 Seema Verma (CMS Administrator) hinted at a new approach pointing to a study by Avalere that ACOs not only did not save money, but they have increased federal spending by $384 million, versus a projected $1.7 billion in net savings from 2013 to 2016. Couple this concern with the ongoing debate on whether Medicare Advantage Plans (MAs) are still costing the Treasury (via over funding or “up-coding”) vs. advancing the needle on the Triple Aim (better experience of care, better outcomes at lower per capita costs).

Of course, the industry, led by the National Association of ACOs (NAACOs), were completely against this decision and stated that the ACOs had indeed saved money when they reviewed the 2017 results, which indeed showed net savings of $314 million dollars. NAACOS also stated that if these changes were made many ACOs would quit , pointing to a survey they had conducted showing that 71% of the ACOs in track 1 would quit if they had to take on 2 sided risk.

But by then it was too late and in last December CMS announced their new Pathways to Success models with the following by Seema Verma:

…the presence of an “upside-only” track may be encouraging consolidation in the marketplace, reducing competition and choice for Medicare FFS beneficiaries. While we understand that systems need time to adjust, Medicare cannot afford to continue with models that are not producing desired results.

The key changes were as follows:

  • Only 2 years before ACO must accept down-side risk
  • Beneficiaries notification of ACO participation at 1st primary care visit
  • Payment for tele-health services
  • Incorporates regional spending into ACO targets
  • Authorizes termination of ACOs with multiple years of poor financial performance
  • Could potentially save $2.2 billion in Medicare costs during the next 10 years

The new tracks and their “glide path” are as follows:

So what does this mean for ACOs?

What better place to figure this out than the Florida Association of ACOs annual meeting. Florida has been leading the way in ACO participation and performance and while this conference is in beautiful Orlando Florida in the fall, the attendees and speakers are national so one can get a full view of the impact and what’s working.

For an update on market conditions including an overview of the annual conference from FLAACOS CEO Nicole Bradberry, listen here.

Florida Association of ACOs

Attending the 2019 FLAACOs annual conference you’ll hear from Aneesh Chopra, President, Care Journey and former CTO of the United States opening the conference, followed by, you guessed it, a panel on MSSP ACO and Pathways to Success with Sheila Fusé, Vice President, Policy and Payment Models Navvis Healthcare, Kelly Conroy, Executive Director Holy Cross Physician Partners ACO, Travis Broome, Vice President for Policy and ACO Administration, Aledade a technology enable physician practice management company who recently reported some rather impressive results for 2018 from their network of clients ACOs.

The conference will then dig deeper exploring such topics as the new CMS primary care contracting models, Social Determinants of Health (SDoH), Direct employer contracting 2.0 and mental/behavioral health from a rather packed agenda.

So, join us November 7th – 8th in Orlando Florida to network and learn from those getting it done in the ACO world.

For registration details, click here.

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Is Text Messaging being Overlooked as an Engagement Tool in Healthcare?

 

the-holy-grailImproving the consumer’s engagement in their health has become the holy grail; we’re all searching for it. It seems every week some company is coming out with a new app, system or program claiming they’ve developed an incredible engagement tool that will finally get people involved in their health. Most have stumbled.

Could it be that we are overlooking something because it’s just not cool and there are potential HIPAA concerns? That something is SMS text messaging. Think about it, everyone has a cell phone and text is typically unlimited and has become the new way to communicate.

It also turns out, there are some very good studies to support text messaging to be effective and much more likely to be read and responded to than an app, phone call or email. As for HIPAA, there are ways to use a “text first” approach and stay HIPAA compliant.  ken-saitow

Listen to this episode of PopHealth Week  with Ken Saitow of CareWire as he provides insights into text messaging, HIPAA compliance and use cases. He even touches upon seniors and Medicaid, both of whom respond well to text messaging.

 

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Brought to you by Health Innovation Media

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Interview with Brenda Schmidt CEO of Solera Health: Creating a Broader Network of Community Providers

At the recent HiMSS 2016 conference in Las Vegas I had the pleasure of interviewing Brenda Schmidt of Solera Health, an Integrated Health Network. Solera connects a nationwide network of community organizations and digital solutions for chronic  disease prevention programs (including the CDC National Diabetes Prevention Program) with technology that manages service referrals, reimbursement and payment, aggregates data and reporting simplifying enrollment and supporting increased consumer engagement and choice.

 

 

 

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Will we get to 50% Value Based Payments by 2018

Here was my response to the question from Xerox Healthcare at the recent HiMSS conference “Will we get to 50% value based payment by 2018 as stated by CMS?”

 

Thanks to Xerox Healthcare for the opportunity to provide my thoughts.

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