• AAFP to CMS: Protect CPC+ Practices From COVID-19 Losses

    Letter Calls for Payment Advances to Safeguard Innovative Primary Care Model

    April 16, 2020 01:47 pm News Staff – On March 28, CMS said it would expand its accelerated and advance payment program to help Medicare participants fight COVID-19, a move the AAFP had strongly advocated.

    help sign on pavement

    The following day, the Academy added its voice to a broad call urging similar support for front-line physicians working in Comprehensive Primary Care Plus practices.

    The March 29 letter -- sent to CMS Administrator Seema Verma, M.P.H, and Brad Smith, director of CMS' Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation -- warned that physicians working in this transformational, multipayer model face growing financial hardship due to the pandemic.

    Without intervention, the letter cautioned, such practices "will be forced to make operational decisions in the next two to six weeks that could jeopardize access to care for their patients and the communities they serve and the future of CPC+ as a whole."

    The problem, said the letter's 29 signatories, is cash flow. Which means the solution is cash flow.

    "CMS can strengthen the CPC+ program and its participating practices by advancing next quarter's care management fees now," the letter said. At least three months' worth of such payments, covering May through July, should be made "as soon as possible."

    "Waiving notice and comment rulemaking when doing so will provide immediate relief to hospitals and physicians," the letter added.

    The stakeholders further proposed that CMS

    • continue making CPC+ care management fee payments on schedule for the duration of the national emergency after paying the CMF advances,
    • advance next quarter's primary care prospective payment for Track 2 practices and
    • reduce payments to repay the advances after the national emergency.

    The letter originated with Aledade, a nationwide value-based care network. In addition to the AAFP, signatories included the American College of Physicians, National Association of Accountable Care Organizations and former AAFP President Michael Munger, M.D., of Overland Park, Kan.