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Second Opinion

Learn about policy issues important to medical schools and teaching hospitals, with Executive Vice President Atul Grover, M.D., Ph.D.

Washington Highlights

Senate Finance Committee Hold Hearing on CMMI Progress

March 22, 2013—The Senate Finance Committee March 20 held a hearing that examined the ongoing demonstration projects being tested at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). The committee heard testimony and questioned CMMI Director Richard Gilfillan, M.D., on the progress of delivery reforms tasked with testing new provider payment incentives, including Medicare accountable care organizations (ACOs) and bundling initiatives.

Senate Finance Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) began the hearing saying, “In just a short time, the Innovation Center has produced real results. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the investments in the Innovation Center are expected to generate a 13 percent return through 2019. And in the decade after, the center is expected to save taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.” He added, “Some of the tested models will be successful and others won’t, but we cannot be afraid of missteps. We must continue trying new ideas, learning from mistakes, and building on our successes. That’s how we find what works. And we also need Medicare and Medicaid to develop programs faster than they have in the past.”

Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) countered the Chair, saying to Dr. Gilfillin, “The administration expects you and your staff to overhaul the way health care is delivered in this country and to do it quickly so that people begin to believe their claims that Obamacare will save money. However, despite these claims, I am quite confident that Obamacare will only increase the cost of health care in this country.”

Dr. Gilfillin testified, “We are currently working with more than 50,000 health care providers from every state in the country to test various models. Knowing that there is no one solution that will improve the health care system and reduce costs, the Innovation Center is casting a wide net through our broad portfolio to give options and opportunities to participate in testing models.”

Many Republicans from the committee were concerned that CMMI has too much duplication with other parts of CMS, and are using their $10 billion budget on programs that are “uncoordinated” and need consolidating, citing a Nov. 12 GAO report that identified three examples of overlap between the 17 CMMI  models and the efforts of other CMS offices.

Additionally, Sens. Pat Robert (R-Kansas) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) were concerned that rural providers were unable to participate in any of the programs being tested at CMMI.

Dr.  Gilfillin responded to these concerns by ensuring that CMMI , the Center for Medicare, and the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services were working together to coordinate efforts across the agency and eliminate any duplication, but pointed out that they are working with different levels of preparedness for change among providers, and each demonstration is aimed at encompassing the wide variety of settings and providers.

Contact:

Len Marquez
Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-862-6281
Email: lmarquez@aamc.org

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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.


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For More Information

Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806
Email: jkleinman@aamc.org