The Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Accountable Care Organizations (NAACOS) on March 26 joined a number of other nationwide healthcare professional associations in authoring a letter that calls on the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI/the Innovation Center), a component within the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to take a more public process for developing future value-based payment models and updating existing models. The association, which represents accountable care organizations (ACOs) nationwide, is asking top Medicare officials to provide greater “clarity and stability in model design to encourage organizations to participate and move to higher levels of risk and reward.”
“ACOs have shown they’re committed to new care models, including those with higher levels of risk and reward, but they need more information on what the future holds if they’re expected to fully embrace the Innovation Center’s work,” said Clif Gaus, Sc.D., NAACOS president and CEO, in a press release published Tuesday. “Our Next Generation Model ACOs have been waiting anxiously for months to see what future options will be available, and their experience could be shared to improve the Innovation Center’s work.” NAACOS is the nation’s largest association of ACOs, representing 330 MSSP (Medicare Shared Savings Program), Next Generation, and commercial ACOs.
The letter was sent to CMS Administrator Seema Verma and Innovation Center Director Adam Boehler. It was co-signed by NAACOS, the American Medical Group Association, Association of American Medical Colleges, Health Care Transformation Task Force, Medical Group Management Association, National Coalition on Health Care, Next Generation ACO Coalition, Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative, and Premier Inc.
The letter states the Innovation Center’s work needs a public process to allow stakeholder comment on all model design elements prior to finalizing the model. Model changes also need to be made and communicated clearly and publicly.
Specifically, the groups recommend establishing a process similar to annual changes in Medicare Advantage, where certain policy updates are communicated publicly with some opportunity for stakeholder feedback, but without the formal notice-and-comment rulemaking. Currently, the Innovation Center often communicates changes through contract amendments, sometimes in the middle of a performance year.
“There is a wealth of expertise from those on the front lines of healthcare delivery and payment transformation—knowledge that should be solicited throughout a more public process of developing and updating models,” Gaus added.