CMS releases proposal for Accountable Care Organizations

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May 06, 2011
In this issue
» Federal Proposal on ACOs May Limit Some Internists' Participation

» Initiative Aims to Minimize Preventable Patient Injuries

» Do High-Deductible Health Plans Ensure Adequate Care?

About this newsletter

The ACP Advocate is an e-newsletter, edited by the College's Washington, DC governmental affairs division, created to provide you, our members, with succinct news about public policy issues affecting internal medicine and patient care. To learn more about ACP's Advocacy and to access the ACP Advocate archives, go to

Welcome to The ACP Advocate.

In our first story this week we detail for you the proposed regulations that CMS has published regarding Accountable Care Organizations.  We believe that improvements will be needed in this highly anticipated program to reduce barriers for participation by smaller and medium size internal medicine practices.  We’re developing comments to send to CMS with suggestions for changes and I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to influence some improvements.  Stay tuned for more on this issue.
Our second story lets you know about a new patient safety initiative that the College has just signed on to.  The Partnership for Patients: Better Care, Lower Costs aims to reduce the number of preventable hospital readmissions.  It’s still in its initial stages, so we will let you know more about our involvement as we move forward.
And, finally, our last story this week lets you know about a new study from the Rand Corp. that shows that high-deductible health plans don’t disproportionately, adversely affect low-income patients.  The unfortunate part is that it seems that is because patients in those plans tend to universally delay or forgo preventive care.  Check out the story for more details of what they found.
In our next issue we’ll be visiting the problem of Medicare payments and the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula.  Specifically, we’ll be detailing for you a series of recommendations we just sent to Congress about how to replace the SGR.
For more coverage of what’s happening in Washington, take a look at my award-winning blog, The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty.  You can also follow me on Twitter @BobDohertyACP

And, as always, please send your feedback and suggestions on this newsletter to:

Yours truly,

Bob Doherty
Senior Vice President
Governmental Affairs and Public Policy
American College of Physicians 

In the news
» Federal Proposal on ACOs May Limit Some Internists' Participation
  ACP expects to suggest revisions to eliminate barriers and boost rewards for smaller practices

Internists in small- and medium-sized practices could find it difficult to participate in accountable care organizations, given the new regulations that have been proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

ACOs are a new paymen... » Click to read the full article

» Initiative Aims to Minimize Preventable Patient Injuries
  ACP signs pledge to join public-private partnership

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has launched a $1 billion initiative to reduce medical errors that lead to an estimated 98,000 preventable deaths each year.

Called "Partnership for Patients: Better Care, Lower Costs," the initiat... » Click to read the full article

» Do High-Deductible Health Plans Ensure Adequate Care?
  Some worry that preventive care will fall by the wayside

The largest national study to analyze the consequences of increasingly popular high-deductible health plans asserts that so-called medically vulnerable individuals aren't at greater risk for cutting back on needed care.

Some health policy experts... » Click to read the full article

In focus
First Round of Primary Care Bonus Payments Distributed
If you qualified for the primary care incentive payment you should have received your first quarter check from CMS. This first payment would only have included claims that had been both submitted and paid by the end of the first quarter, so it may be lower than you were expecting if you had claims that were submitted but not paid by March 31. In addition, CMS calculated the payment as the fee schedule rate minus the beneficiary’s co-payment. For more information see ACP’s Q&A on the program.

Registration Opens for EHR Incentive Program
The Registration and Attestation System for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program is now live. Physicians who are interested in participating in the program that allows you to earn an incentive payment for demonstrating “meaningful use” of a qualified EHR system can find more information on the American EHR website about how to access the new system and about additional program materials that are also available.

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