Welcome to the Accountable for Health (A4H) newsletter, including legislative and Administration updates, accountable care news, and resources.

A4H Activity

A brief roundup of our recent activity in Washington, DC:

  • Convened our members to discuss options for the future of the ACO REACH model.
  • Our Voices of Accountable Care group met with CMS Innovation Center staff to discuss the new Value-Based Care Spotlight Website (more on the website below).
  • Met with offices of House Ways and Means Committee and Health Subcommittee Chair Vern Buchanan (R-FL); Representative Barragan (D-CA); Representative Crenshaw (R-TX) and Senator Stabenow (D-MI) to discuss policies to accelerate the adoption of accountable care.

Congressional News

Next week both the House and Senate will be in session.

Government Funding and Outlook for Medicare Physician Payment Fixes. With the government funding deadlines of March 1 and March 8 rapidly approaching, lawmakers have a brief window to reach an agreement and avoid a government shutdown. The key health care committees in the House and Senate continue to negotiate a broader health care package which could potentially pass alongside a funding bill. Both chambers also have advanced legislation to address the reduction to Medicare physician fee schedule payments and extend the advanced alternative payment model (APM) bonus. A4H continues to work with Members of Congress to push for the inclusion of an APM bonus fix and progress has been made, however, the overall cost will remain a concern and could impact how far a fix could go. View the A4H table comparing APM bonus extension proposals here. We have also begun discussing longer term MACRA bonus reforms in these meetings.

Update: Bipartisan Senate Working Group on Medicare Payment Reform. Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Thune (R-SD), John Barrasso (R-WY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Mark Warner (D-VA) formed a Medicare payment reform work group to identify potential reforms to the physician fee schedule and update the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). A statement by the working group highlights the need to alter the Medicare physician payment system to:

  • Ensure financial stability for providers
  • Improve patient outcomes
  • Promote access to quality care
  • Incentivize the utilization of emerging health care technology

A4H and our members have been in contact with members of the working group on our priorities for MACRA reforms. We will continue to update you as they begin to explore long-term policies on Medicare physician payment.


ICYMI: CMS Innovation Center Launches Value-Based Care Spotlight Website During Health Care Value Week. The new website defines the goals of value-based care (VBC) and explains VBC’s importance and how the approach supports providers and patients. The page offers a Key Concepts tool that outlines how the Innovation Center is transforming the healthcare system to prioritize quality over volume, a section that elaborates on how accountable care works and what Accountable Care Organizations do, and a tab that describes how person-centered care differs from the traditional fee-for-service system. The website also includes public and provider spotlights and patient success stories. A4H hosted a call with the CMS Innovation Center and community-facing organizations this week to discuss ways we can contribute to and advance this content.

Four Things We’re Reading

  1. Improving Medicare through Medicare Advantage (Paragon Health Institute)
  2. Value-Based Payment Models can Improve Appropriate and Equitable Use of Prescription Drugs (Health Affairs)
  3. Staggering Rise in Catheter Bills Suggests Medicare Scam (NY Times)
  4. Shadow Bundles: A Big Opportunity for MSSP and REACH ACOs (Milliman)


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