ACO roundup: A cardiologist's call to action on population health

Key accountable care news from March 31 to April 6

The Daily Briefing editorial team rounds up recent accountable care news.

  • A cardiologist's call to action on population health. Kim Allan Williams, president of the American College of Cardiology (ACC), opened ACC's 65th Scientific Session with a call for his peers to increase their commitment to population health efforts. "We must shift the paradigm from treatment to prevention," said Williams, the head of cardiology at Rush University Medical Center. In a video message played at the event, First Lady Michelle Obama said, "We all know that preventing conditions like cardiovascular disease starts early, with the habits we instill in our kids; from the food we serve them, to the physical activity they do, or don't do, every day. And health care providers ... are absolutely critical in these efforts."
  • How hospitals decide to engage in community population health. When researchers interviewed leaders from community groups and 24 hospitals partnering with those organizations, they found that "hospitals' decisions about whether to engage in community health improvement [are] idiosyncratic," but CEO leadership is among the key factors, Melinda Chen and her colleagues write for Health Affairs blog. Many hospital leaders said the lack of funding was a major barrier to further engagement with the community.
  • Commenting on MSSP. Several health care organizations submitted comments on CMS's proposed changes to the Medicare Shared Savings Program's (MSSP) benchmarking methodology ahead of the March 28 deadline. For instance, Dignity Health said the changes, "if executed correctly," could bring new participants into the ACO program and bolster its long-term viability. Meanwhile, Trinity Health noted that ACOs that joined the program in 2012 or 2013 would not qualify for the new benchmark formula until their third contract period. Trinity suggested CMS permit such ACOs that renewed their contracts in 2016 o switch to the regional benchmarks without the delay.

From the Advisory Board:

  • Avoid CJR penalties with help from Crimson. CMS's first mandatory bundled payment program—the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) Model—took effect on April 1. Curious about what steps you should take to drive performance improvement for joint replacements and avoid penalties? Hear from our experts in a webconference on Wednesday, Apr. 27

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  • 3 things you should know about the VBM results. Last month, CMS released data on payment adjustments under the Value-Based Payment Modifier (VBM) program. The results provide fascinating clues on quality reporting successes and barriers—but you have to sift through lots of numbers and CMS language to find them. Krista Teske writes about her top three takeaways.

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CJR: The New Bundling Requirement

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