Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services made an announcement that is really significant, but perhaps not surprising. They are launching a program that will further cement managed care and even more deeply link performance and payment -- the Next Generation ACO Model.
It is designed for ACOs that are experienced in coordinating care. The announcement notes: “It will allow these provider groups to assume higher levels of financial risk and reward than are available under the current Pioneer Model and Shared Savings Program (MSSP). The goal of the Model is to test whether strong financial incentives for ACOs, coupled with tools to support better patient engagement and care management, can improve health outcomes and lower expenditures for Original Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) beneficiaries.”
Part of the announcement is the expansion of telehealth services. This further cements the use of iClickCare, not as flourish or a "nice to have", but as a routine way of taking excellent care of patients. As the American Telemedicine Association clarified: “The decision is particularly significant because under this new model, Medicare telehealth services can be covered without regard to longstanding rural and institution restrictions, requiring a beneficiary be located in a rural area and served at a health facility. For the first time, telehealth coverage will be extended to 80 percent of Medicare beneficiaries living in metropolitan areas and from any service originating site, such as their home.”
Only 15 to 20 ACOs are expected to participate, but the message is becoming increasing clear:
Reward and risk are, increasingly, being transferred to the provider.
Are we moving back to a time before Medicare existed? Of course not but it seems that there is more recognition that the provider and the patient are part of the solution rather than part of the problem. We wonder why this is being approached in such a small way, but we also recognize that it only takes the tiniest of sparks to start a bonfire that will last the whole night.
iClickCare welcomes the opportunity to help ACOs reduce risk. More than care coordination, real risk reduction requires collaboration, which is iClickCare’s core mission. The deadline for a letter of intent for the Next Generation program is May 1, 2015, just 45 days away. If you are applying, contact us and we'll explore how we can support you.
The benefits and savings of iClickCare have existed for decades. Now, the difference is that this type of coordination of care and strategic collaboration are indispensable -- and supported by the government. Now, more than ever, is the time.
As telemedicine becomes more important for managing risk, coordinating care, and decreasing the costs of care, you can try iClickCare for free: