The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services expects to spend $100 million over five years to offer Medicare clinicians customized direct assistance, such as training and education to achieve success under the Merit-based Incentive Payment System.
The funding is required as part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, or MACRA.
These funds will target small practices of 15 or fewer clinicians, predominantly in rural areas, health professional shortage areas and medically underserved regions, with the goal of easing the transition from fee-for-service to value and outcomes-based reimbursement.
“Doctors and healthcare providers in small and rural practices are critical to our goal of building a health care system that works for everyone,” said Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. “Supporting local healthcare providers with the resources and information necessary for them to provide quality care is a top priority for this administration.”
CMS is seeking partners to provide the services to physicians, such as quality improvement organizations, regional extension centers and other regional health collaborative organizations. Under CMS’ plan, there will be no cost to physicians for the services.
Participating organization would help physicians work through what they need to be successful, such as which quality measures or electronic health record system would be most appropriate for their practices. Clinicians also would receive clinical practice improvement training, which would include assessing new workflows and whether they should join an alternative payment model.
“Providing these tools to help physicians and other clinicians in small practices navigate new programs is key to making sure they are able to focus on what is most important: the needs of their patients,” said B. Vindell Washington, MD, principal deputy national coordinator. “As with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s funding for Regional Extension Centers, this assistance will help healthcare providers leverage health information technology to enhance their practices and the care they deliver.”
The funding round for potential participating organizations is now open, and awardees will be announced in November. More information is available here.
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