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Internists Encouraged By CMS Announcement of New Payment and Delivery Models to Support Primary Care

Statement attributable to:
Robert McLean, MD, FACP
President, American College of Physicians

Washington, DC (April 23, 2019) —The American College of Physicians (ACP) is encouraged that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are testing new delivery and payment models to support the role of care provided by primary care physicians. The new models, announced in a briefing attended by ACP representatives, are intended to recognize the value of primary care physicians in our health care system by offering sustainable and predictable prospective monthly payments to practices, to reduce administrative burdens for clinicians, to increase the quality of care for patients, and to allow practices and their physicians to share in savings from keeping patients healthy and out of the hospital whenever possible.

Internal medicine specialists are uniquely trained to provide adult patients with primary and comprehensive care throughout their lifetimes, and ACP is supportive of new primary care models that recognize and support their contributions to bringing greater value to their patients. The new models are important steps in this direction. Specifically, ACP is pleased that CMS has considered our recommendations to provide a variety of payment and delivery models that support internal medicine and primary care practices, from smaller and independent practices to larger integrated ones. Of note, ACP is optimistic that the new models will emphasize the important role primary care plays in value-based care delivery, that models are voluntary and have a range of risk options, and that practices should use population health management data to reap potential benefits. Additionally, ACP is supportive of the fact that the new models aim to reduce administrative burdens—potentially allowing physicians to spend more time with their patients.

The success and viability of these models will depend on the extent that they are supported by payers in addition to Medicare and Medicaid, are adequately adjusted for differences in the risk and health status of patients seen by each practice, are provided predictable and adequate payments to support and sustain practices (especially smaller independent ones), are appropriately scaled for the financial risk expected of a practice, are provided meaningful and timely data to support improvement, and are truly able to reduce administrative tasks and costs, among other things

ACP will continue to evaluate the new payment and delivery models based on such considerations, and we look forward to working with CMS and to continue advocating for ways to support the value of primary care for physicians and for all patients across the health care system.

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About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 154,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Contact: Julie Hirschhorn, (202) 261-4523, jhirschhorn@acponline.org