News in Brief: Week of July 23-27

July 25, 2012 04:35 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

AAFP Adds METRIC Module to Keep Children's Vaccinations Up-To-Date

The AAFP's Measuring, Evaluating and Translating Research into Care (METRIC) performance improvement program has added a childhood immunization module to help members keep their pediatric patients' vaccinations up-to-date.

In addition to completing Part IV of the ABFM's Maintenance of Certification for Family Physicians, those who take the METRIC module are eligible to earn as many as 20 Prescribed CME credits. Users can take up to one year to finish the module.

The AAFP's METRIC program, which launched in 2005, offers family physicians online learning modules on various clinical topics, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coronary artery disease, depression, diabetes and hypertension.

CMS Announces National Call to Discuss Value-Based Modifier

CMS plans to hold a national call on Aug. 1 from 2:30-4 p.m. EST to discuss proposed regulations that would implement a physician "value-based modifier payment" in 2015.

CMS officials plan to explain the value-based modifier payment during the call before taking questions about the modifier, which was created as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act requires CMS to pay physicians based on the quality of care furnished to Medicare beneficiaries compared to the cost of that care during a performance period.

In the proposed 2013 Medicare physician fee schedule, CMS discusses its intentions to apply the value modifier to physician practices with 25 or more eligible employees starting in 2015. CMS proposes using a physician group's 2013 performance measures to calculate the value modifier.

Registration( for the call is required.

New Program Will Help States Develop, Test New Care Models

HHS has launched a new initiative( to help states test existing health care delivery transformation models or develop new transformation models to improve care and eliminate unnecessary costs for beneficiaries in the Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs.

The initiative will make available $275 million in competitive funding to help states design and test multipayer payment and delivery models that deliver high quality health care and improve health system performance, according to HHS. States will have two options: they can apply for model testing awards to assist them in implementing already developed models, or they can apply for model design awards to help them in determining what type of system improvements would work best for their states.

HHS will choose up to five states for the initial round of model testing awards and as many as 25 states for the model design awards. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation at CMS developed the initiative and will provide technical assistance to state awardees.

States will be required to work with multiple payers, including employers, insurers, community leaders, health care providers and consumers, among others. The successful innovations are expected to benefit both privately and publicly insured residents of participating states because of the breadth and scope of the initiatives.

Oncology Medical Home in the Making

The Community Oncology Alliance( recently announced that a steering committee dedicated to developing parameters for an oncology medical home for cancer care has released 16 quality, value and outcome measures toward that effort.

According to a July 18 press release, the results were achieved through the work of 18 cancer care stakeholders.

The measures cover, among other things, minimization of emergency room visits and inpatient hospital stays, use of hospice services, and screening and intervention for the psychosocial needs of cancer patients.

The next stage in the development of the oncology medical home model will be the development of payment models aimed at rewarding quality, value and superior outcomes while minimizing administrative and financial burdens.