Health Policy Vitals

Help us improve careers for entry- and mid-level health care workers

By Eric Cragun and Kathryn Martucci August 3, 2016

In April, The White House announced the Health Careers Pathways (HCP) initiative which aims to train entry-level health care workers—especially those from diverse backgrounds—and support their advancement into middle-class jobs.

The initiative consists of two components: First, the Health Career Pathways Communities led by Hope Street Group, is a cohort of pilot programs testing a common career pathways model in seven regions throughout the country. Second, the Advisory Board is leading the Health Career Pathways Task Force, convening experts from 19 health systems, community colleges, and workforce training organizations across the country to develop recommendations on how to best support training, placement and career development for workers to meet the demands of America’s rapidly evolving health care needs.

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Reports from the Front Lines: Key takeaways from our recent Maryland all-payer model webconference

By Kathryn Martucci June 8, 2016

On May 13, the Advisory Board’s Health Policy team hosted a webconference featuring a panel of leaders from CMS and Maryland provider organizations.The topic of discussion, in conjunction with the release of a related white paper, was Maryland’s all-payer global budget cap model and its broader implications for national care transformation. Panelists included:

  • Will Daniel, an analyst with the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI);
  • Steve Clarke, Vice President for Physician Services at Anne Arundel Medical Center; and
  • John Colmers, Senior Vice President of Health Care Transformation and Strategic Planning with Johns Hopkins Medicine.

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The unanswered questions that will impact the success of CPC+

By Eric Cragun April 15, 2016

On Monday, CMS announced the Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) payment model, which is designed to test whether investment support to assist physician practices in becoming advanced primary care medical homes will enable those practices to deliver higher value care. The model’s specific focus on primary care and care management support—on a multi-payer basis—makes it a unique and significant addition to the Innovation Center’s portfolio of models.

While the details outlined in CMS’ Request for Applications provide much guidance, they also raise questions about how CPC+ will interplay with other CMS initiatives and how success will be measured.

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Key insights from the front lines: Navigating the transition to risk

By Adam Lustig February 24, 2016

On February 5, the Advisory Board Company hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill to explore providers’ efforts to navigate the transition from fee-for-service to risk-based payment.

The conversation focused on the challenges health care stakeholders face during this period, the strategies they are using to realize the potential of risk-based incentives, and how policy decisions can support clinical and financial success in care transformation.

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Eight key insights on this week's ACO participation announcement

By Piper Su, Eric Cragun, and Adam Lustig January 15, 2016

Earlier this week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the 2016 ACO cohorts, including new and renewing ACOs for the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) and ACOs joining the Next Generation ACO Model. Overall, the announcement signals continued progress towards Secretary Burwell’s goal of shifting 30% of traditional Medicare payments to alternative payment models by the end of this year.

Here are our eight quick takeaways on what the information reveals about the evolution of ACO participation.

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6 factors providers need to consider when choosing an ACO model

by Adam Lustig September 18, 2015

Last month, CMS released the most recent results for organizations participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) and the Pioneer ACO Model. While this information tells us a great deal about how MSSP is working today, the fact that only 25% of participants earned a bonus begs the question of where the program is headed. There’s little debate about the program’s importance in the transition to value, and CMS’s stance is clear: it’s expecting to pay out half its payments through alternative models by 2018, and recently expanded the MSSP program to give providers more options.

Prospective and current ACOs now have three distinct two-sided risk models to consider (Track 2 and 3 of MSSP and the Next Generation ACO Model), as well as an upside-only option (Track 1). So which will providers choose? And how will they choose? We’ve explained some of the key factors that may influence their choice.

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Slides: How SGR repeal will change Medicare physician payments

by Eric Cragun April 15, 2015

The legislation Congress passed permanently repealing the Sustainable Growth Rate dramatically alters Medicare's physician payment model. This new payment system takes a dramatic step toward rewarding providers for the quality and efficiency of care that they provide. It also is packed with complexity.

To make it easier to understand the new system, my team mapped out the various pieces in a few ready-to-use slides. You can download copies below to share or incorporate into your slide decks, or you can view the slides virtually.

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Why ‘workflow’ just became a health care buzzword (and why you should care)

October 6, 2014

As news unfolded last week about the ongoing fight against Ebola in Texas, many of us began to hear a new word in the conversation: “workflow.” We don’t see this term often in the health policy community, but it’s well-known to frontline providers and critical to improving both our public health and care delivery efforts.

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