It is essential that CMS establish the right vision and direction for this program. Overall we believe you are moving in the right direction with the proposed rule, and we applaud your commitment to ensuring ACOs deliver truly patient-centered care. Changing the outcomes produced by our health care system requires genuine change in provider behavior and payment incentives, which will in turn drive patient outcomes, experience, and engagement. We know that true transformation of this magnitude is no small feat. It will require hard work by providers and payers. But we can no longer afford the status quo, either in financial or human terms. Patients and their families have long deserved better.“The Campaign for Better Care is working to improve health care for the oldest and sickest patients,” said CBC leader Debra L. Ness, who is President of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “ACOs are critically important to achieving that goal and, if done right with the patient as the central focus, they will be a central component of our reformed health care system. We thank CMS for issuing a strong, thoughtful rule that can advance the kind of ACOs that work well for patients and their families."
While some are concerned about asking too much of ACOs, we cannot expect genuine transformation to be easy, and we know that these new models must be held to standards that ensure they deliver on the promise of better care, better health, and lower cost. If the bar is set too low, ACOs will likely fail either by failing to produce real results through a fundamentally different approach to care, or by creating resistance among patients who are called on to pay for or be part of mediocre attempts at change. We are very pleased that the guiding principles upon which the ACO proposed rule is premised include patient-centered care, patient engagement, a strong foundation of primary care, performance measurement including patient experience, and meaningful stakeholder involvement.
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.