Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) Can Be Key To Helping Advance a Health Care System that Rewards Value Over Volume

Leading Consumer Health Advocate Reinforces Importance of Patient- and Family-Centered Care, Health IT in Comments

The National Partnership for Women & Families today submitted comments applauding the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for its ongoing commitment to shifting to new payment models that reward quality and value, most recently demonstrated in the request for information for the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA).

In its comments, the National Partnership identifies MACRA as a critical opportunity to strengthen the delivery of care for Medicare beneficiaries. The National Partnership offers:

  • Strong support for the use of patient-reported outcome and experience measures that are meaningful for both consumers and providers and will help providers drive quality improvement and value;
  • Support for clinical practice improvement activities that meaningfully engage patients and families in quality improvement and redesign activities, for example through the use of Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs);
  • Detailed criteria for patient-centered medical homes, including provision of personalized, whole-person care; ready access to care; effective care coordination; patient engagement at all levels of care delivery; and a commitment to continuous quality improvement; and 
  • Key principles for designing and implementing Alternative Payment Models (APMs) that achieve better health outcomes, better experience of care and lower costs by meeting the needs of patients and improving how care is delivered. APMs must balance cost-saving interests with quality performance and beneficiary rights and protections, the letter says.

“MACRA will bring the biggest change in how we pay Medicare providers in decades, and the transition away from fee for service and toward value-based payment offers a critical, perhaps unprecedented opportunity to drive delivery system transformation that results in authentic patient- and family-centered care,” said National Partnership President Debra L. Ness. “Realizing this promise is essential and it will require meaningful partnership and collaboration with patients and families at all levels of care as well as the integration – and importantly, use – of health information technology (IT) and health information exchange.”

The letter asserts that health IT creates an essential foundation for coordinated care, improved health outcomes and patient and family engagement, and encourages CMS to maintain strong requirements for the meaningful use of certified electronic health records for providers in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), as it reinforces performance in the other three categories of MIPS – quality, resource use and clinical practice improvement activities.

The National Partnership’s comments can be found here.

About the National Partnership

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.

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