Washington, D.C., July 27, 2023 — Accountable for Health (A4H) announced its support for the Value in Health Care Act, reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bipartisan bill is sponsored by Representatives Darin LaHood (IL-16), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Brad Wenstrup (OH-02), Kim Schrier (WA-08), Larry Bucshon, M.D. (IN-08), and Earl Blumenauer (OR-03). It proposes changes to the program parameters of Medicare’s Alternative Payment Models (APMs) to incentivize participation in Accountable Care Organizations (ACO). A4H CEO Mara McDermott issued the following statement:

“The Value Act establishes important priorities in advancing health care delivery that drives health outcomes over the volume of services provided. MACRA established incentives to drive the transformation from fee- for-service to accountable care because a broad, bipartisan group of lawmakers knew America’s health care delivery system must improve to meet people’s needs. The pandemic demonstrated we need innovation in health care more than ever before, yet progress is threatened by incentives that will expire at the end of this year. The Value Act ensures this investment in people’s health continues for two more years. Accountable for Health and its members look forward to working with Representatives LaHood and DelBene to advance this bill and continue transforming American health care away from fee-for-service toward high quality, accountable care.”

Reps. LaHood and DelBene issued the following statements in the congressional release announcing introduction:

“The Value in Health Care Act is a commonsense proposal that includes substantive reforms to encourage and support greater participation by healthcare providers in ACO’s, particularly in our rural communities in Illinois. By incentivizing the use of these value-based health models that support coordinated care between doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers, this legislation will improve healthcare access and the quality of care for seniors and patients across my district,” said Rep. LaHood.

“Physicians and hospitals participating in Alternative Payment Models are leading the changes our health care system needs to focus on value instead of volume. The Value in Health Care Act would encourage more providers to join these models and accelerate this change, leading to improved quality of care and health outcomes for seniors. Shifting to value will also save everyday people and our health system money in the long-term. We must continue to provide the incentives that expand access to coordinated and comprehensive care,” said Rep. DelBene.

The Value in Health Care Act would make the following changes to improve health outcomes for seniors while lowering costs:

  • Reinstate and extend the 5% bonus for two years to allow providers to invest in the necessary tools to succeed in accountable care;
  • Encourage Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to develop a full risk track offering an additional accountable care option for providers who want more financial risk and reward for improving patient outcomes;
  • Encourage participation in accountable care organizations by improving transparency and the financial methodology.

Accountable for Health also joined more than 15 other advocacy organizations on a letter to the sponsors of the Value in Health Care Act thanking them for their leadership and providing additional detail on their support for the legislation.

About Accountable for Health

Accountable for Health (A4H) is a 501(c)(4) national advocacy and policy analysis organization accelerating the adoption of sustainable, effective accountable care that improves health care quality and outcomes and lower costs. We represent a broad, diverse group of accountable care stakeholders working to improve the way health care is delivered to people across the county, across various payers, programs, and delivery models. A4H provides advocacy, research, and education to improve outcomes and patient experiences while lowering costs.

For more information, visit https://accountableforhealth.org/. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter (@acct4health). ###

Accountable for Health Joins Stakeholders Supporting Value Act

The Honorable Darin LaHood
1424 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M.
2335 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Larry Bucshon, M.D.
2313 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Suzan DelBene
2330 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Earl Blumenauer
1111 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Kim Schrier, M.D.
1110 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representatives LaHood, DelBene, Wenstrup, Blumenauer, Bucshon and Schrier:

On behalf of the undersigned organizations, we thank you for your leadership in supporting value-based health care. We write to endorse the Value in Health Care Act of 2023. This bipartisan legislation makes several important reforms to ensure that alternative payment models (APMs) continue to produce high quality care for the Medicare program and its beneficiaries.

In the last decade, some APMs have generated billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers all while maintaining quality of care for patients. The growth of APMs may have also produced a “spill-over” effect on care delivery across the nation, potentially slowing the overall rate of growth of health care spending. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported earlier this year that actual Medicare and Medicaid spending between 2010–2020 was 9 percent lower than original projections, with improvements to care management and more efficient use of technology playing a role in slowing spending on federal health programs.1

A key aim of the bipartisan Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) was to speed the transition to patient-centered, value-based care by encouraging physicians and other clinicians to transition into APMs. While MACRA was a step in the right direction, the transition has been slower than anticipated and more needs to be done to drive long-term system transformations. The Value in Health Care Act helps maintain and further strengthen the movement towards high-quality care in which financial performance is linked to the quality of patient care rather than the number of services delivered.

We are pleased that the bill provides a multi-year commitment to reforming care delivery by extending MACRA’s 5 percent advanced APM incentives that are scheduled to expire at the end of the year. It also gives the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) authority to adjust APM qualifying thresholds so that the current one-size-fits-all approach does not serve as a disincentive to including rural, underserved, primary care or specialty practices in APMs.

We are also encouraged that the bill removes revenue-based distinctions that disadvantage rural and safety net providers, which is critical to improving access to care and improving health equity. The bill also improves financial benchmarks so that APM participants are not penalized for their own success. To allow more clinicians to continue the transition to value, the bill establishes a voluntary track for accountable care organizations (ACOs) in the Medicare Shared Savings Program to take on higher levels of risk and provides technical assistance for clinicians new to APMs. Lastly, the bill seeks to explore the potential of providing parity between APMs and the Medicare Advantage (MA) program by studying ways to increase alignment that will ease burdens on physicians and ensure that both APMs and MA are attractive and sustainable options.

Thank you for your leadership on these important issues. This bill is a comprehensive approach that will strengthen the Medicare program and ensure high quality, lower cost care for our nation’s seniors. We look forward to working with you.

Sincerely,

Accountable for Health
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American College of Physicians
American Hospital Association
American Medical Association
America’s Essential Hospitals
America’s Physician Groups
AMGA
Association of American Medical Colleges
Federation of American Hospitals
Healthcare Leadership Council
Health Care Transformation Task Force
Medical Group Management Association
National Association of ACOs
National Rural Health Association
Premier Inc.

1 Congressional Budget Office (2023, March 17). CBO’s Projections of Federal Health Care Spending. https://www.cbo.gov/system/files/2023-03/58997-Whitehouse.pdf

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