The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Aug. 22 selected 500 primary care practices to participate in the Comprehensive Primary Care initiative, a multipayer program aimed at fostering collaboration between public and private health care payers to strengthen primary care.
Under the initiative, Medicare will work with commercial and state health insurance plans in seven markets and offer bonus payments to primary care doctors who better coordinate care for their patients. The sites were selected in April based on the percentage of the total population covered by payers who expressed interest in joining the partnership, CMS said (see previous article).
The four-year initiative, which began with a request for participation in September 2011, is overseen by CMS's Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. The innovation center will pay the participating medical practices a monthly reimbursement of $20 per beneficiary in fee-for-service Medicare to support enhanced primary care management. In the third and fourth years, the fee will be reduced to $15 per month per beneficiary (see previous article).
The innovation center was created by the health reform law to test innovative payment and service delivery models with potential to reduce program expenditures while preserving or enhancing quality of care.
The 500 practices in the initiative represent more than 2,000 providers serving an estimated 313,000 Medicare beneficiaries, CMS said. Practices were chosen based on their use of health information technology; ability to demonstrate recognition of advanced primary care delivery models; service to patients covered by participating payers; participation in practice transformation and improvement activities; and diversity of geography, practice size, and ownership structure, CMS said.
“Primary care practices play a vital role in our health care system and we are looking at ways to better support them in their efforts to coordinate care for their patients,” acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said in a statement.
By Nathaniel Weixel
More information is at http://www.innovations.cms.gov/initiatives/Comprehensive-Primary-Care-Initiative/index.html. A fact sheet on the initiative is available in HealthDocs™.
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