The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation should apply certain principles to all of its projects and models, AHA told the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today, responding to the agency’s request for information on a new direction for the center. AHA members “believe that programs implemented by CMMI are an important step toward determining the best methods to improve the quality of care while also reducing Medicare expenditures,” wrote AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels. “Based on their experiences with these programs, certain themes have emerged that apply broadly to payment and delivery system reform.” Specifically, AHA said the programs should be transparently designed and shared so that participants can make fully informed decisions about participation; promote fully integrated care; balance the risk versus reward equation; guard against fragmentation; waive applicable laws and regulations that inhibit clinical integration and care coordination; provide timely access to data; include adequate risk adjustment; minimize regulatory burden; and leverage partnerships where appropriate. AHA also urged CMS to consider specific concepts and models for the CMMI moving forward, including certain emerging strategies that could preserve access to essential health care services in vulnerable rural and inner-city communities.