National Rural ACO

Commentary and opinion on the ongoing transformation of our rural and community healthcare systems

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Caravan Health Extends Deadline for 2018 ACO Participation to April 30, 2017

April 19, 2017 – Kansas City, MO – Providers who want to take advantage of value-based reimbursements and avoid MACRA penalties in 2018 must act fast – Caravan Health, the market leader in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), has extended its deadline for consideration in a 2018 ACO to April 30, 2017.

Caravan Health urges providers to visit their website – caravanhealth.com/apply/ – and fill out a non-binding letter of interest (LOI) to begin the ACO process. Once providers submit an LOI, they will have until June 30 to complete the application process.

“Filling out the non-binding LOI is the first step in transitioning away from volume to value-based care,” says Lynn Barr, MPH, CEO of Caravan Health. “Caravan Health has a 100% application success rate and our expert team will provide guidance every step of the way.”

Ms. Barr states that 124 providers have submitted LOIs to Caravan Health this year and expects up to 200 by the April deadline.

“Our data shows ACO participation is the best option for transforming primary care, increasing revenue and earning MACRA bonuses,” says Barr. “Providers are realizing that they can’t risk waiting another year – the time to join an ACO is now.”

Caravan Health is holding an informational webinar the next two weeks to provide an easy to follow roadmap and address pressing questions. The webinar will take place Friday, April 21 and Friday, April 28 at 8:30 a.m. PT/10:30 a.m. CT/11:30 a.m. ET.  Participants may register at caravanhealth.com/upcoming-events/.

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About Caravan Health
Caravan Health helps providers implement population health programs with affordable, end-to-end solutions that achieve outstanding results. More information regarding Caravan Health can be found on our website at www.caravanhealth.com or email info@caravanhealth.com.

ACO Participation Can Increase MACRA Performance Scores by Thirty Percent

Kansas City, MO – March 29, 2017 – With the first performance year for the new Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) underway, eligible clinicians must strategize payment implications under the program. Unlike the Physicians Quality Reporting System, Meaningful Use and the Value-Based Modifier, MIPS places the performance of each clinician on a curve, and adjusts payments based on their precise location in the distribution compared to others.

Lynn Barr, MPH, CEO of Caravan Health, and LeeAnn Hastings, JD, MPH, Compliance Officer for 23 Medicare Shared Savings Program ACOs, have released an issue brief, Impact of ACOs on MIPS Payments for All Eligible Clinicians, comparing MIPS payment adjustments of ACO participants versus non-ACO participants. The brief illustrates that Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) participation will enhance MIPS performance and increase the likelihood of receiving the exceptional performance bonuses. Exceptional performance bonuses are only available the first five years of MIPS and, depending upon the number of exceptional performers, could receive up to ten percent in addition to the maximum positive payment adjustment, which is up to three times the penalty for the first five years of the program. Taking into account CMS’s scaling factor and the exceptional performance bonus, a top-performing practice could theoretically earn up to a 25% payment adjustment in the 2018 performance year.

According to Ms. Hastings, “MACRA requires that 30% of the MIPS score is based on Resource Utilization. Track 1 ACO participants, however, are held accountable for cost in their ACO and not MIPS. As a result, Track 1 ACO participants can more easily achieve high scores compared to other MIPS participants, increasing the likelihood of avoiding MIPS penalties and earning the exceptional performance bonus.”

To predict MIPS bonuses, Barr emphasizes that clinicians must know both their performance score and estimate the score of the rest of the providers in the MIPS pool. Up to 40% of eligible clinicians in the pool are expected to be participants in Track 1 Medicare Shared Savings Program ACOs. Those ACOs will receive special scoring causing most other MIPS-eligible clinicians to receive lower adjustments in comparison.

Barr states, “Small practices should consider joining an ACO to avoid penalties for generally lower scores due to lack of infrastructure, and providers in rural areas may want to join ACOs to avoid MIPS penalties due to their higher cost structures. Community hospitals can earn high bonuses and support their community physicians, particularly specialists, by enrolling them in their ACO, protecting their incomes and reducing their administrative burden.”

Caravan Health, who currently supports 160 community hospitals and 250 practices in 23 Medicare Shared Savings Program ACOs, is holding weekly webinars to help providers navigate the ACO process and fully understand how to maximize their incentive payments. Participants will receive step-by-step financial guidance on how to calculate potential penalties and bonuses under MACRA.

Webinars are held on Fridays at 8:30am PT/10:30am CT/11:30am ET. To register, visit www.caravanhealth.com/upcomingevents.

The full brief, Impact of ACOs on MIPS Payments for All Eligible Clinicians, is available for download at www.caravanhealth.com/macra.

About Caravan Health:
Caravan Health helps providers implement population health programs with affordable, end-to-end solutions that achieve outstanding results. More information regarding Caravan Health can be found on our website at www.caravanhealth.com or email info@caravanhealth.com.

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Media Contact:
Sage Beard
Marketing Manager, Caravan Health
sbeard@caravanhealth.com | 916.542.4564

New Administration Sends Positive Smoke Signals About Value-Based Payments

Last week, the CMS announced a delay in publishing the final rules regarding the new mandatory cardiac and joint bundled payment programs. Significantly, the CMS did not dethe start dates of those programs, put them on hold, or cancel them all together. The new bundled payment programs will begin as scheduled, but the new administration will have a chance to make minor tweaks prior to the July 1 start date.

In spite of Secretary Price’s previous objections to mandatory CMMI programs, the green light from CMS foreshadows a continued commitment to value-based payments. A strong case can be made that the delivery system reforms instituted under the Affordable Care Act are a unique example of successful government intervention. There is compelling evidence to show that these programs have improved the quality of care for millions of people, saved hundreds of thousands of lives, and reduced spending by billions of dollars.

The pressure to reform will continue. Every provider needs to engage in value-based payment models today and begin the learning process. Currently, 30% of providers are engaged in value-based models. Provider engagement is expected to increase to 50% by 2018.  Now is the time to move forward or risk falling behind half the providers in America.

Several companies offer low-cost, supported participation in the Medicare Shared Savings Program for the third of physician groups who do not have 5,000 Medicare lives on their own. These companies include Collaborative Health Systems, Aledade, and Caravan Health.

Applications for 2018 are due to CMS on July 31st, with CMS letters of intent due by May 1st. Please reach out to us at info@caravanhealth.com if you would like to learn more.

 

 

Accountable Care Symposium to Focus on Collaborative Care Agreements and Behavioral Health Integration


Join hundreds of accountable care pioneers to learn how rural and urban hospitals, clinics, small practices and independent providers can achieve better outcomes and higher earnings.

Austin, Texas – December 05, 2016 – The Caravan Health two-day Accountable Care Symposium, to be held January 11 and 12, 2017 at The Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs in Phoenix, Arizona, will provide hands-on training for ACO’s, CPC+ participants and forward thinking primary care practices that want to learn simple techniques that improve care, lower cost and help practices earn significant bonuses under MACRA.

The Caravan Health Accountable Care Symposium will teach tried and true methods for implementing Comprehensive Primary Care (CPC+) Programs, Accountable Care Organizations (ACO’s) and new, billable primary care services. In addition to focusing on a variety of key topics in population health, the Symposium will teach practical processes to address behavioral health issues including the following:

  • How to implement the new Psychiatric Collaborative Care model to integrate behavioral health into primary care practices using nursing staff and remote coaching from Psychiatrists.
  • How to bill for new behavioral health codes
  • Evidence-based tools for psychosocial assessments.
  • How your nurse can use SBIRT for smoking cessation, obesity, and substance abuse.
  • Provide analysis of your referral network based on public use files and claims data to identify the best places to send patients for specialty care.

In addition, the Symposium will provide a workshop promoting better collaboration between primary care, specialty care, and facility care, including the following:

  • How to use collaborative care agreements and regular meetings with specialists to review patient-specific panels.
  • How to collaborate with high-volume Hospitals and Emergency Departments to get notified of patient visits and discharges
  • How to track and compare patient discharges to patients who are contacted for follow-up for continuous improvements.

“Integrating behavioral and mental health services into primary care practices will provide tremendous benefits to the patients we serve, reducing depression, substance abuse and other issues that compromise our patient’s quality of life.” stated Lynn Barr, CEO of Caravan Health. “CMS has introduced these new programs in the 2017 Physician Fee Schedule, rewarding providers for comprehensive, coordinated care.”

The first day of the symposium will be dedicated to policy: explaining the interaction between MACRA and advanced payment models and showcasing real world experiences from pioneers of accountable care and practice transformation. The second day will feature hands-on workshops that will provide instruction on how to simply and affordably implement chronic care management and behavioral health interventions, in addition to wellness, risk adjustment and stratification programs. A special workshop will be dedicated to MACRA’s new Advancing Care Information category, providing practical tips on how to implement the workflows that will achieve the highest scores.

Participants that are currently enrolled in the Caravan Health ACO or CPC+ programs or are participating in any Practice Transformation Network may attend the Symposium at no cost if they register by December 15, 2016. A complete agenda and registration are available through the Caravan Health website www.CaravanHealth.com.

Accountable Care Symposium to Focus on Emergency Department and Inpatient Transitions of Care

Austin, Texas – November 29, 2016 – The Caravan Health two-day Accountable Care Symposium on January 11 and 12, 2017 at The Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs in Phoenix, Arizona, will provide hands-on training for ACO’s, CPC+ participants and forward-thinking primary care practices that want to learn simple techniques that improve care, lower cost and help practices earn significant bonuses under MACRA.

The Caravan Health Accountable Care Symposium will teach proven methods for implementing Comprehensive Primary Care (CPC+) Programs, Accountable Care Organizations (ACO’s) and new, billable primary care services. In addition to focusing on a variety of key topics in population health, the Symposium will teach emergency department and inpatient follow up procedures. Hands-on workshops will provide key materials and training to help attendees to strengthen their skills and gain confidence carrying out these processes.

  • Receive scripts, tools and training to approach high volume hospitals and emergency departments to develop notification processes upon discharge.
  • Receive training on protocols for scheduling post-discharge follow-up with your nurse.
  • Learn how to bill for Transitional Care Management Services.

“Our patients are highly vulnerable during these transitions from the hospital and emergency department settings.” stated Lynn Barr, CEO of Caravan Health. “This program will help our practices help our patients when they need it the most.”

The first day of the symposium will be dedicated to policy: explaining the interaction between MACRA and advanced payment models and showcasing real world experiences from pioneers of accountable care and practice transformation. The second day will feature hands-on workshops that will provide instruction on how to simply and affordably implement chronic care management and behavioral health interventions, in addition to wellness, risk adjustment and stratification programs. A special workshop will be dedicated to MACRA’s new Advancing Care Information category, providing practical tips on how to implement the workflows that will achieve the highest scores.

Participants that are currently enrolled in the Caravan Health ACO or CPC+ programs or are participating in any Practice Transformation Network may attend the Symposium at no cost if they register by December 15, 2016. A complete agenda and registration are available through the Caravan Health website www.CaravanHealth.com.

About Caravan Health:
Caravan Health helps providers implement population health programs with affordable, end-to-end solutions that achieve outstanding results.

 

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CONTACT:
Bryan Hagar
Communications Director
Caravan Health
916 542 4583
bhagar@caravanhealth.com

Care Coordination to be Featured at the Caravan Health Accountable Care Symposium

Join hundreds of accountable care pioneers to learn how rural hospitals, clinics, small practices and independent providers can achieve better outcomes and higher earnings.

Austin, Texas – November 21, 2016 – The Caravan Health two-day Accountable Care Symposium, to be held January 11 and 12, 2017 at The Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs in Phoenix, Arizona, will provide hands-on training for ACO’s, CPC+ participants and forward thinking primary care practices that want to learn simple techniques that improve care, lower cost and help practices earn significant bonuses under MACRA.

In addition to covering a number of other prominent topics in population health, the Symposium will help participants learn tried and true methods for implementing CPC+, Accountable Care Organizations, and new, billable primary care services. Hands-on workshops will help practices set up the following programs

  • Chronic Care Management
  • Transitional Care Management
  • Risk stratification
  • Empanelment

Participants can meet and network with experienced care coordinators who have already implemented these programs successfully in hospitals, rural health clinics, Federally Qualified Health Centers and primary care practices.

“Care coordinators are the heart and soul of population health. These workshops will teach practices how to set up successful care coordination programs that improve outcomes and are financially sustainable.” stated Lynn Barr, CEO of Caravan Health.

The first day of the symposium will be dedicated to policy: explaining the interaction between MACRA and advanced payment models and showcasing real world experiences from pioneers of accountable care and practice transformation. The second day will feature hands-on workshops that will provide instruction on how to simply and affordably implement chronic care management and behavioral health interventions, in addition to wellness, risk adjustment and stratification programs. A special workshop will be dedicated to MACRA’s new Advancing Care Information category, providing practical tips on how to implement the workflows that will achieve the highest scores.

Participants that are currently enrolled in the Caravan Health ACO or CPC+ programs or are participating in a Practice Transformation Network may attend the Symposium at no cost if they register by December 15, 2016. A complete agenda and registration are available through the Caravan Health website www.CaravanHealth.com.

About Caravan Health:
Caravan Health helps providers implement population health programs with affordable, end-to-end solutions that achieve outstanding results.

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CONTACT:
Bryan Hagar
Communications Director
Caravan Health
916 542 4583
bhagar@caravanhealth.com

CMMI Notifies Comprehensive Primary Care Practices of Acceptance

Caravan Health to hold webinar to review on-boarding packet, Monday, 2:00pm EDT

Austin, Texas – November 17, 2016 – Thousands of primary care providers have been notified of acceptance into the Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) program. Successful applicants are receiving on-boarding documents and instructions for submission by December 1st, 2016. Caravan Health, who is supporting many of the CPC+ practices, will be providing a webinar to review the on-boarding packet to help practices submit the paperwork quickly and easily. The webinar is open to the public and is free of charge.

The registration link for the webinar is:

https://caravanhealth.webex.com/caravanhealth/onstage/g.php?MTID=e68fd09b29bdc0a618816a6689daadca2

  • Event Number: 662 161 178
  • Event Password: CPC1121
  • Date: Monday, November 21, 2016
  • Time: 11:00am PT | 1:00pm CT | 2:00pm ET

In addition, the Innovation Center is releasing guidelines and requirements for behavioral health integration for practices that are in Track Two of the CPC+ program, or previously participated in the Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative (CPCI). These guidelines will be addressed in the webinar with a discussion of the related codes for behavioral health integration found in the 2017 Physician Fee Schedule.

“We have been inundated with calls and emails from practices that are thrilled to be part of this important new payment model for primary care,” commented Lynn Barr, CEO of Caravan Health. “Many will attend the Caravan Health Accountable Care Symposium in Phoenix, AZ on January 11th and 12th, to participate in hands-on, peer-to-peer workshops, that will help practices quickly and successfully implement these new models.” For more information about the Symposium, go to http://www.caravanhealth.com.

About Caravan Health:

Caravan Health helps providers implement population health programs with affordable, end-to-end solutions that achieve outstanding results.

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CONTACT:
Bryan Hagar
Communications Director
Caravan Health
916 542 4582
bhagar@caravanhealth.com

 

Caravan Health Accountable Care Symposium to Feature Training on Access and Continuity Solutions

Join hundreds of accountable care pioneers to learn how rural hospitals, clinics, small practices and independent providers can achieve better outcomes and higher earnings.

Austin, Texas – November 15, 2016 – Caravan Health will be providing hands-on training for ACO’s, CPC+ participants and forward thinking primary care practices that want to learn simple techniques that improve care, lower cost and help practices earn significant bonuses under MACRA. The two-day symposium will be held January 11 and 12, 2017 at The Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs in Phoenix, Arizona.

In addition to other population health-focused curriculum, the Symposium will train practices on how to implement the following access and continuity programs:

  • Provide a 24/7 nurse-advice line to triage patients and reduce the call burden on the practice; directing patients to the practice only when appropriate.
  • Teach your staff to empanel patients based on proven methodology, measure access and continuity, and rebalance patient loads as appropriate.
  • Help your staff use claims data to develop diabetic, cardiology and pulmonology panels, identify high value specialists for collaboration and organize quarterly meetings with you, your specialists and the care team to review your panels.
  • Help you implement Alternative Visits, including teaching you and your staff about scheduling, documentation and tracking methodologies.

“Leaders who attend will leave the Symposium with an understanding of exactly what needs to be done in 2017 in order to succeed in their ACO, CPC+ and MACRA+ programs,” stated Lynn Barr, CEO of Caravan Health.

The first day of the symposium will be dedicated to policy: explaining the interaction between MACRA and advanced payment models and showcasing real world experiences from pioneers of accountable care and practice transformation. The second day will feature hands-on workshops that will provide instruction on how to simply and affordably implement chronic care management and behavioral health interventions, in addition to wellness, risk adjustment and stratification programs. A special workshop will be dedicated to MACRA’s new Advancing Care Information category, providing practical tips on how to implement the workflows that will achieve the highest scores.

Participants that are currently enrolled in the Caravan Health ACO or CPC+ programs or are participating in a Practice Transformation Network may attend the Symposium at no cost if they register by December 15, 2016. A complete agenda and registration are available through the Caravan Health website www.CaravanHealth.com.

About Caravan Health:
Caravan Health helps providers implement population health programs with affordable, end-to-end solutions that achieve outstanding results.

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CONTACT:
Bryan Hagar
Communications Director
Caravan Health
916 542 4583
bhagar@caravanhealth.com

Final Rule MSSP Program

By LeeAnn Hastings, Director of Policy and Compliance

The Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) final rule was released by CMS in early November. The rule broadly establishes payment rates for physicians and makes other changes to the Medicare Part B program for calendar year 2017 (CY2017). Among the changes finalized for 2017 include important modifications to the Medicare Shared Savings Program for Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and their participant providers.

In the final rule, CMS created some important flexibility for providers that participate in an ACO and looking ahead, an opportunity for providers to increase the certainty of their patient population.

Typically, an ACO is responsible for reporting required quality data on behalf of its providers. Providers that do not report this data are currently penalized, or in the case of ACO participants, if the ACO does not report on their behalf. With the new rule, CMS will now allow providers to independently report their quality data, which in the event their ACO fails in its obligation, will prevent the provider from facing a penalty. The rule allows physicians to back-report for both the 2015 and 2016 performance years; and will carry forward the policy as we shift to payment under the Quality Payment Program (QPP) in the 2017 performance year.

CMS also finalized its proposal to explore a voluntary attestation process for 2018. Under this system, patients would be able to declare their “home” doctor, and the ACO would know in advance that such patients were assigned to the ACO. More details on this process will be released through sub-regulatory guidance and outreach.

Finally, CMS used the final rule to make adjustments to the quality measure set for 2017. More information on technical changes to quality measures and quality validation is contained in the PFS Shared Savings Program brief HERE.

In future blog posts we will discuss important coding changes in the final rule as well as the expanded Diabetes Prevention Program.

Registration Now Open for the Caravan Health Accountable Care Symposium

Join hundreds of accountable care pioneers to learn how rural hospitals, clinics, small practices and independent providers can achieve better outcomes and higher earnings.

Austin, Texas – November 07, 2016 – Registration is now open for the Caravan Health Accountable Care Symposium, the premier learning and networking event for current and future participants in Advanced Payment Models. The two-day symposium will be held January 11 and 12, 2017 at The Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs in Phoenix, Arizona,

The meeting will convene independent practice associations, small practices, rural health systems, community hospitals, FQHCs and multi-specialty groups; together with hundreds of current ACO participants including primary care physicians, community hospital CEOs, nurse care coordinators and executive leaders. Many newly accepted participants in Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) will attend, joined by physicians and hospital leaders that are preparing to enter into Advanced Payment Models in 2018.

“Leaders who attend will leave the Symposium with an understanding of exactly what needs to be done in 2017 in order to succeed in their CPC+ and ACO programs,” stated Lynn Barr, CEO of Caravan Health.

The first day of the symposium will be dedicated to policy: explaining the interaction between MACRA and advanced payment models and showcasing real world experiences from pioneers of accountable care and practice transformation. The second day will feature hands-on workshops that will provide instruction on how to simply and affordably implement chronic care management and behavioral health interventions, in addition to wellness, risk adjustment and stratification programs. A special workshop will be dedicated to MACRA’s new Advancing Care Information category, providing practical tips on how to implement the workflows that will achieve the highest scores.

Participants that are currently enrolled in the Caravan Health ACO or CPC+ program or are participating in a Practice Transformation Network may attend the Symposium at no cost, if they register by December 15, 2016. A complete agenda and registration are available through the Caravan Health website www.CaravanHealth.com.

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About Caravan Health:

Caravan Health helps providers implement population health programs with affordable, end-to-end solutions that achieve outstanding results.

CONTACT:
Bryan Hagar
Communications Director
Caravan Health
916 542 4582
bhagar@caravanhealth.com