Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), along with Senators Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), co-chairs of the Finance Committee Chronic Care Working Group, released a discussion draft, framed by several bipartisan proposals and stakeholder feedback, to improve health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries living with chronic conditions [see Washington Highlights, Jan 29].
Chairman Hatch praised the bipartisan effort stating, “Addressing chronic care in the Medicare program with reforms that improve outcomes for patients and save taxpayer dollars is a bipartisan goal, and I am proud that after a year and a half’s worth of work, the Finance Committee Chronic Care Working Group was able to unite around a set of reforms and recommendations to advance the conversation. Left unresolved, chronic care’s impact on beneficiary health outcomes and Medicare program spending could quickly worsen.”
Policies of interest to academic medicine include:
Directing the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to take into account the total number of diseases, use at least two years of diagnosis data, and Medicare-Medicaid dual eligibility status;
amending Section 1899(c) of the Social Security Act to give Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) the choice to have their beneficiaries assigned prospectively at the beginning of a performance year; and
establishing the ACO Beneficiary Incentive Program, which would create a process that allows ACOs to make incentive payments to all assigned beneficiaries that receive qualifying primary care services; among others.