In Successful ACOs, Population Health
Focus Paves Way for Shared Savings Payouts
Physician practices toiling in fledgling ACOs and obsessing over shared savings that have not yet materialized, take heart: population health offers multiple revenue streams for accountable care organizations waiting for the “gravy” of accountable care.
"Gravy" is the way Tim Gronniger, senior vice president of development and strategy for Caravan Health, refers to ACO shared savings payouts, which he says can take considerable time to accrue.
"It is literally two years from the time you jump into an ACO before you have even the chance of a shared savings payout," Gronniger told participants in Generating Population Health Revenue: ACO Best Practices for Medicare Shared Savings and MIPS Success, a January 2018 webcast now available for replay.
Obsessing over shared savings is one of the biggest mistakes hospitals in ACOs can make, he explained during the program.
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This delay is one reason Caravan Health urges its ACOs to adopt a population health focus, whether pursuing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Quality Payment Program (QPP) Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP).
Gronniger’s advice is predicated on his organization’s experience of mentoring 38 ACOs. In 2016, Caravan Health’s ACOs saved more than $26 million in the MSSP program and achieved higher than average quality scores and quality reporting scores, according to recently released CMS data.
Walking attendees through a MACRA primer, Gronniger underscored the challenges of the MIPS program, one of three tracks offered under the Quality Payment Program. “Barring a really exceptional performance on MIPS, you can’t even break even over the next few years on physician compensation,” he said.
In the meantime, ACOs should utilize recently rolled out Medicare billing codes, from the annual wellness visit (AWV) to advanced care planning, to generate wellness revenue. With proper planning, reengineering of staffing and clinical work flows, a practice could generate anywhere from five hundred to one thousand dollars annually per eligible Medicare patient, Gronniger estimates—monies that offset the cost of constructing a sustainable ACO business model.
To back up this population health rationale, Gronniger pointed to data from an ACO client demonstrating the impact of a cohesive PHM approach, including the use of trained population health nurses, on completion rates for preventive screenings. For less top-of-mind screenings like falls assessment and smoking cessation, completion rates rose from negligible to near-universal levels, he said.
“These are recommended sets of screens that are required by CMS, but that also help ACOs with quality measures,” he added.
Gronniger also shared examples of dashboards, scorecards and roadmaps Caravan Health employs to help keep client ACOs on track. An ACO success strategy involves “a lot of dashboarding, checking in, and discussion of problems and barriers, discussion of solutions, and monthly and quarterly measurement and reporting back,” he said.
Beyond coveted shared savings, ACO participation offers significant non-financial benefits, including quality improvements under both MSSP and MIPS standards, availability of ACO-specific waivers, and access to proprietary performance data.
Overall, ACO participation can make providers more attractive both to commercial contractors and to potential patients perusing Physician Compare ratings in greater numbers.
Gronniger ended by weighing in on the recent recommendation by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) to repeal and replace the MIPS program.
You can "attend" this program right in your office and learn more about the key cornerstones of Caravan Health’s ACO success, including staffing and patient engagement secrets; payoffs from detailed MACRA and MIPS reporting; the benefits of effort-based quality metrics over outcomes-based data; two critical 2018 strategies Caravan Health’s ACOs use to build on their success, and much more.
It's so convenient! Invite your staff members to watch the conference. We will send you a DVD or CD-ROM of the conference proceedings or a link to our web site with a username and password. You can log in and view the program right from your computer — any time of the day or night, whenever convenient for you and your colleagues — and benefit from the archived recording of the conference, including the Q&A period.
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