Medicare’s Latest Primary Care Initiative a Major Step Forward

Contact:   Nisha Bhat
                  National Coalition on Health Care
                  nbhat@nchc.org
                  202-638-7151, ext. 106

Medicare’s Latest Primary Care Initiative a Major Step Forward

Statement by NCHC President and CEO John Rother on the announcement of the new Comprehensive Primary Care Plus multi-payer advanced primary care initiative

“The new model for primary care payment announced today is a major step forward.

Strong and substantial evidence shows that a better approach to primary care can improve care and lower costs, if properly structured and supported. As a result, the best private and public employers and commercial plans are investing in advanced primary care payment models.  But the bulk of Medicare practices have been largely dependent on pure fee-for-service payment, and many have struggled to achieve real practice transformation. With today’s announcement, that will begin to change for thousands of health professionals and millions of patients.

“Of course, the details of implementation will matter a great deal. CMS must prove itself flexible enough to engage non-federal payers in diverse areas of the country. Model participants must find ways to effectively work with specialty practices. Policymakers must determine how this model can best interface with last year’s SGR reform legislation and the Medicare Shared Savings Program, as well as health plans in Medicare and Medicaid. And ultimately, the full range of payers must press toward development, refinement and dissemination of even more ambitious alternative payment models.

“But for today, it’s clear that Medicare and Medicaid are moving to align their primary care payment models with the rest of the health care sector. That’s a big deal.”

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The National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC), the oldest and most diverse group working to achieve comprehensive health system reform, is a 501(c)(3) organization representing more than 80 participating organizations, including medical societies, businesses, unions, health care providers, faith-based associations, pension and health funds, insurers and groups representing consumers, patients, women, minorities and persons with disabilities. Member organizations collectively represent – as employees, members, or congregants – over 100 million Americans.

Some members of NCHC do not, or cannot, take positions either on specific legislation, strategies or on any policies outside their respective mission areas. However, all that can, do endorse broad policy positions in support of comprehensive health system change.