The Department of Health and Human Services aims to tie 30% of Medicare fee-for-service payments to alternative payment models and 85% to quality or value by 2016, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced today. The plan calls for increasing these proportions to 50% and 90%, respectively, by 2018. “We believe these goals can drive transformative change, help us manage and track progress, and create accountability for measurable improvement,” Burwell said. Examples of alternative payment models include accountable care organizations and bundled payment arrangements. HHS also plans to work with private payers, employers, consumers, providers, state Medicaid programs and other partners to expand alternative payment models into their programs through a new Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network, which will begin meeting in March. For more information, see the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ factsheet. Burwell announced the explicit goals at a meeting with nearly two dozen leaders representing consumer, insurance, provider and business organizations, including the AHA. “America’s hospitals are committed to alternative payment systems that increase value and promote the coordination of care in a seamless manner across multiple settings,” said AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack. “In fact, we have begun the process of redesigning delivery systems to serve patients better in this manner long before the enactment of the Affordable Care Act. We welcome continued efforts of the Administration and others to promote innovative approaches that enhance these ambitious objectives. We look forward to learning more from HHS on how these new goals will be phased in. At the same time, we encourage the Administration to fully evaluate and improve on the delivery system reforms currently in place to ensure that we are learning from the pilot and demonstration projects to best meet patient needs. Moreover, we need to phase in changes in a thoughtful manner that is tailored to the specific needs of individual communities. We look forward to learning more from HHS on the details and metrics of this program.”

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