CMS’ Middle for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation on Thursday unveiled its extremely anticipated Geographic Direct Contracting Mannequin.
The mannequin—dubbed “Geo”—goals to enhance well being outcomes and decrease healthcare prices for Medicare’s fee-for-service beneficiaries throughout complete geographic areas by encouraging members to work collectively to enhance care coordination and care administration. So-called direct contracting entities, CMMI’s new identify for accountable care organizations, “will implement region-wide care supply and value-based fee,” CMS mentioned in a truth sheet.
Throughout an unique interview with Fashionable Healthcare earlier than the announcement, CMS Administrator Seema Verma mentioned the mannequin ought to give members sturdy monetary incentives to chop prices and enhance high quality. Not like the worldwide choices, members would settle for full monetary threat for all conventional Medicare enrollees of their area. To assist members handle their populations, Geo consists of new instruments to encourage beneficiaries to hunt high-value care.
The brand new instruments are “a really vital change from all the opposite fashions,” Verma mentioned. “This actually is … the following technology of CMMI fashions.”
She was optimistic that Accountable Care Organizations, well being programs, medical teams and well being plans would participate. That is as a result of Geo builds on and embraces classes realized from the Medicare Shared Financial savings Program, Subsequent Technology ACO Mannequin, Medicare Benefit and different initiatives. Geo consists of in a single mannequin “all the flexibilities” CMMI has ever provided, plus extra advantages, Verma mentioned.
Most well-liked suppliers and suppliers may obtain value-based funds from direct contracting entities and ship extra advantages to beneficiaries. They’re going to be allowed to create preparations that embody whole or partial capitation.
“What we hope occurs is that supplier entities … will determine value-based fee preparations that construct on and leverage the prevailing CMMI fee fashions, however could go above and past that,” CMMI Deputy Administrator and Director Brad Smith mentioned throughout an interview.
Suppliers will get the identical reimbursement they’ve until they signal a contract that adjustments that, Verma mentioned. The company is exploring whether or not direct contracting entities may take capitation for non-preferred suppliers in the event that they meet particular necessities. It promised to have extra particulars subsequent month.
The mannequin’s new beneficiary engagement instruments might be tempting for some organizations. Geo permits members to supply vouchers for over-the-counter drugs, healthcare-related transportation, meal packages, persistent illness administration packages, and imaginative and prescient and dental companies. Contributors can even present gadgets and companies to assist enrollees handle persistent illness, together with house air-filtering programs and residential enhancements like railing set up. They will additionally provide wellness program members and present playing cards for adhering to illness administration packages, extra telehealth companies and different advantages.
Direct contracting entities can choose to supply a wide selection of extra Medicare advantages, together with the flexibility to waive Medicare’s three-day, expert nursing facility rule and residential visits for care administration. Contributors may even decrease out-of-pocket prices for conventional Medicare enrollees by reducing their Half A or B copays or providing subsidies for beneficiaries’ Half B premiums.
CMMI will take a look at the mannequin for six years. The primary three-year efficiency interval will kickoff on Jan. 1, 2022, and run by means of Dec. 31, 2024. The second will begin Jan. 1, 2025, and finish Dec. 31, 2027. However it would solely settle for functions from organizations in 15 areas. The record excludes main markets like Chicago and New York. The company will choose 4 to 10 areas, Smith mentioned.
“Every area’s benchmark might be set utilizing a geographic price e book,” he mentioned. Smith added that the company is introducing “a next-generation risk-adjustment methodology” that guards in opposition to fee will increase ensuing from upcoding alone.
CMS will decide areas and members based mostly on their proposed reductions.
“CMS will choose candidates with the best common low cost,” in response to a truth sheet.
Organizations ought to ship CMS a non-binding letter by Dec. 21 to precise their curiosity. CMMI will begin accepting functions in January—they’re due Apr. 2. The company will choose mannequin members by Jun. 30. “We anticipate curiosity from organizations which have vital expertise taking threat in value-based care fashions,” CMS mentioned in a truth sheet.
Smith mentioned the company was “very considerate in contemplating how Geo overlaps with different value-based funds.” All Geo members and beneficiaries are eligible to participate in all different CMMI value-based care fashions. Based on Smith, funds made underneath MSSP or different CMS fee fashions might be charged again to the geographic entity and brought under consideration to calculate its shared financial savings.
“We did not wish to roll out Geo and have suppliers should drop out of the mannequin (so there may be) a monetary reconciliation on the again finish with the Geo DCE that takes under consideration all of the downstream funds,” he mentioned. For suppliers collaborating in different fashions, “nothing adjustments for you in any respect.”
The company will assign beneficiaries to a direct contracting entity by means of voluntary alignment, Medicaid managed care alignment for dual-eligibles, ACO-based alignment, claims-based alignment and random alignment. However voluntary alignment will take precedent. Based on CMS, every entity could have no less than 30,000 beneficiaries.
“We’ll proceed to satisfy with plenty of beneficiary advocacy teams to determine the easiest way to coach beneficiaries about their numerous choices,” Smith mentioned. “We’ll more than likely leverage the very best practices for the fashions we have already got in operation.”
“The mannequin has seven high quality measures which are designed to cut back supplier burden, all of which align with current high quality measures and ACO packages or the Medicare Benefit star program,” Smith mentioned.
Medicare beneficiaries should be enrolled in Medicare Half A and B, have Medicare as their main payers, be a U.S. resident and dwell in an included area to participate within the mannequin. They can’t be in a Medicare managed care plan.
“A lot of our fashions have had antagonistic choice,” Smith mentioned. “The best way we have designed the (Geo) mannequin will hopefully stop that.”
Directing contracting entities will tackle numerous program integrity tasks.