President's Message

AAFP Payment Model Shows 'Promise,' Says HHS

June 15, 2018 01:47 pm Michael Munger, M.D.

In 2017, the AAFP developed and submitted the Advanced Primary Care Alternative Payment Model (APC-APM) to the Physician-Focused Payment Model Technical Advisory Committee (PTAC). The PTAC approved the APC-APM for limited-scale testing on Dec. 19, 2017, and forwarded that recommendation to HHS Secretary Alex Azar.

Michael Munger, M.D.

Earlier this week, Secretary Azar issued a letter responding to the PTAC recommendation, including a specific response regarding the APC-APM. In his response, the secretary encouraged the AAFP to further refine several aspects of the model, stating, "HHS believes strengthening primary care is critical to promoting health and reducing overall health care costs in the nation." He recognized the AAFP for its "strong commitment to innovation and improving health care."

With respect to the APC-APM, the secretary commented, "this proposal from AAFP offers promise because of its emphasis on the expansion of beneficiary access to high-quality primary care and its support for primary care physicians' ability to deliver advanced primary care more effectively."

Although it has always been our goal to test and implement the APC-APM on a national scale, we appreciate the secretary's recognition that the AAFP's model is consistent with HHS goals and its overall approach to the important role of primary care in our health care system, as well as the need to ensure a more robust, accessible and efficient system of delivering high-quality primary care in the future.

In the coming days, AAFP will engage with CMS and the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) to identify commonality between the APC-APM and other models under development at CMMI.

The secretary's letter closed by expressing a desire to "continue to engage with AAFP." We welcome this opportunity, and we are confident that our continued collaboration with CMMI will produce a model that achieves a better practice environment for primary care physicians and better care for patients.