- CMS acting Principal Deputy Administrator and Deputy Administrator for Innovation and Quality and CMO Patrick Conway discussed several matters during a Energy and Commerce Committee' subcommittee on health hearing Thursday.
- The hearing was entitled “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015: Examining Implementation of Medicare Payment Reforms.”
- Conway commented on how CMS is changing the PQRS, alternative payment models, attributions, and attempting to make EHRs simpler.
Conway says there are now over 8,000 physicians in the PQRS and though there are over a million physicians across the nation CMS hopes the system will eventually include the vast majority.
Aledade founder, CEO and former National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari reacted to Conway's remarks on Twitter:
Notable from @CMSGov Patrick Conway E&C testimony:— Farzad Mostashari (@Farzad_MD) March 17, 2016
1/ hints that 2019 pay adjustment wd be based on 2017 quality scores. (Bad behav econ)
During the hearing, U.S. Congressman Michael Burgess questioned Conway on the timeline for criteria on alternative payment models. Conway responded, "The plan for evaluation is expected to finalize criteria in the fall," adding, "We’re happy to take ideas prior to that time as well."
As for how many alternative payments models the agency is expected to have, Conway said, "Our expectation is we will have a reasonable set out the gate and then we will work to grow them over time."
Both the list will be refined over time as some will be added or taken away. "We will make adjustments to the existing APMs depending on feedback," Conway said. Mostashari noted:
2/ implies that CPCI PCMH not actuarially certified/certifiable as Alternative Payment Model #MACRA— Farzad Mostashari (@Farzad_MD) March 17, 2016
Several physicians have expressed a desire to participate on multiple alternative payment models. Conway says CMS is working with physician groups to address this issue.
"We're looking at how we would do these operationally, how we would allow this to occur to allow multiple paths to success, so that they can select the models that are the most meaningful to their practice," Conway said.
With quality measures alignment out of the way, among the other things CMS is now working are risk adjustment and attribution, Conway said.
The next generation of ACO models will have perspective attribution as well as the ability to do voluntary attribution, according to Conway.
Conway says, in collaboration with acting Assistant Secretary for Health and current National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo, CMS is working on having common standards, and making sure that the program increasingly focused on interoperability. The MACRA statute also allows CMS to evolve EHRs by increasing flexibility and improving user design and interface, he said.