AAFP Urges Federal Support for Payment Reform Initiatives

December 08, 2016 01:17 pm News Staff

As the incoming Trump administration and congressional leaders are considering what steps they might take on health care reform, the AAFP has joined with other members of a diverse consortium in urging them to continue federal support for efforts begun a decade ago to replace fee-for-service payment models with value-based systems.

Concerned that political change could reverse course on health care payment reform, the AAFP signed on to a Dec. 6 letter(hcttf.org) from the Health Care Transformation Task Force(www.hcttf.org) to President-elect Donald Trump, Vice President-elect Mike Pence, leaders in the House and Senate, and the nominees for secretary of HHS and of CMS, encouraging them to support ongoing health care payment transformation initiatives led by CMS.

The task force is a coalition of 43 organizations representing patients, payers, providers and purchasers -- including six of the nation's top 15 health systems and four of the top 25 health insurers -- that voices strong support for payments that reward care coordination and improved health outcomes. Its payer and provider members are committed to moving 75 percent of their business to value-based payment models by 2020.

Story Highlights
  • The AAFP has signed on to a letter from the Health Care Transformation Task Force calling for continued federal support for payment reform efforts.
  • The letter emphasized that payment models prioritizing value over volume are a vital first step to improving the nation's health care system.
  • The task force, a coalition of 43 organizations representing patients, payers, providers and purchasers, voices strong support for payments that reward care coordination and improved health outcomes.

As of the end of 2015, they had achieved 41 percent.

The letter emphasized that payment models prioritizing value over volume are a vital first step to reversing the nation's record of spending more on health care than other countries yet reporting poor health outcomes.

"Given the significant industry investment and strong progress to date, we urge the new administration and Congress to send signals of support and encouragement so this transition can be sustained," the letter stated. "This is not the time for policymakers to waver or reverse course, which would send a negative message to the industry and chill ongoing transformation efforts."

The task force pointed out in the letter that cooperation between CMS and private insurers is bringing positive results.

"While not fully scaled, the new payment models have made great progress in promoting transparency, reducing cost and improving quality," said the letter. "Many organizations are nearing the tipping point for realizing permanent change."

The AAFP and other task force members highlighted the fact that success in payment reform has been the result of agreement between public and private entities. They cited the CMS Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation as an "effective laboratory" to test new payment and care-coordination models and said its work should continue.

"Industry cannot achieve long-term success without the nation's single largest payer -- the Medicare program -- continuing to signal the importance of moving from fee-for-service to value-based payment," the letter stated.

Contentious negotiation over the federal budget is an annual occurrence, but the task force said value-based payments could offer some relief by helping to stem the continued increase in health care spending.

"No other single policy initiative holds more promise to moderate entitlement spending and to free up needed discretionary resources for other national priorities, like infrastructure and defense," the letter said.

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Task Force Explores Payment Models to Promote, Sustain Needed Care
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