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CMS to Allow ACOs to Join Forthcoming CPC+ Model

June 1, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has opened up its new Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) initiative to 1,500 eligible primary care practices currently in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP).

Announced in April, the CPC+ model will aim to transform how primary care is delivered and paid for in America. Building on the Comprehensive Primary Care initiative, the model will be implemented in up to 20 regions and can accommodate up to 5,000 practices, which would encompass more than 20,000 doctors and clinicians and the 25 million people they serve. Primary care practices will participate in one of two tracks. Practices in Track 2 will provide more comprehensive services for patients with complex medical and behavioral health needs.

Citing stakeholders' input on this issue, the recent CMS announcement underscores how dual participation in CPC+ and an MSSP accountable care organization (ACO) may enhance the coordination of care for Medicare beneficiaries and help to achieve stated aims of better care, smarter spending, and healthier people.

Lynn Barr, CEO of Beaverton, Ore.-based Caravan Health, reacted to the announcement positively, saying in a statement, "CPC+ provides significant funding for primary care practices to deliver care the way they and their patients think is best. Dual participation in these programs will provide the best possible outcomes for both patients and providers."

The initiative is set to begin on January 1, 2017. According to CMS, Track 2 practices’ vendors will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with CMS that outlines their commitment to supporting practices’ enhancement of health IT capabilities. These partnerships “align with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) priority to ensure electronic health information is available when and where it matters to consumers and clinicians,” CMS said in a press release in April.

Originally, CMS said that ACOs would be shut out of the forthcoming Comprehensive Primary Care Plus program. As such, with this recent news, CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt took to Twitter last week announcing the change.

This news story originally appeared in sister-publication Healthcare Informatics.