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EPtalk by Dr. Jayne 4/21/16

April 21, 2016 Dr. Jayne No Comments

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There has been a lot of buzz this week around the announcement of the Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) model. CMS hopes to build on the previous Comprehensive Primary Care initiative, this time recruiting 5,000 practices into two tracks. The strongest candidates for participation will be practices that are already involved in care coordination and population management.

CPC+ differs from some of the other quality programs in that the incentive payments are prospective and the way in which practices manage their patients will determine how much of the incentive the practice gets to keep.

Practices will be selected after the identification of 20 participation regions which will be dependent on payer participation. The goal is for the majority of patients in the practice to be covered by one of the participating payers. Although physicians seem interested in the prospective payments, their enthusiasm was somewhat tempered by the need to wait until regions are determined. Payer proposals can be submitted through June 1, with submission of practice applications to follow. I attended one of the CPC+ webinars this week and actually enjoyed learning about some of the nuances of the program.

CMS also announced that those practices participating in the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) initiative can extend their involvement for an additional two years. CMS will use the extra time to evaluate outcomes and determine whether bundled payments are leading to better care while controlling costs. I wonder if their evaluation will also look at the stress levels of providers involved in the initiatives and the ratio of their patient-care hours to administrative time both before and after the initiative.

In other government news, our friends at ONC shared a comprehensive evaluation of the Regional Extension Center (REC) program. Highlights include data that 68 percent of eligible professionals receiving incentive programs under Stage 1 of Meaningful Use worked with a REC. If you don’t want to try to make it through the entire 124 pages, I’d recommend the Executive Summary, which is only six pages.

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I’ve been waiting for the HIMSS16 presentations to be available online so I can grab a couple of slide decks. Although I understand they’re trying to be hip with their screen layout, you can only see eight sessions at a time, which leads to a lot of scrolling. I had quite a bit of difficulty finding the sessions I wanted, until I realized that sessions starting with “The” were filed under T.

After locating my sessions and downloading the slides, I decided to watch a couple of the sessions that I missed. The first one had audio which I couldn’t hear despite maximizing the settings of my tablet and the streaming content. I could tell the people were talking, but couldn’t make out any of the words. Good luck to the rest of you hoping to watch the sessions.

Being on the HIMSS website also reminded me that I needed to submit my sessions for continuing education. After my experience with the streaming presentations, I was hoping for a better experience, but left disappointed. Although I liked the fact that it prevented you from accidentally trying to claim credit for two sessions in the same time slot, it did it by refreshing the screen which required the user to re-select the day each time before searching for the next session.

I eventually was able to get all of my sessions selected. HIMSS has to submit them directly to the American Board of Preventive Medicine for credit, so I’ll be checking back in a week or so to ensure they get posted. Given the cost of attending the conference, I want to maximize my returns.

I’ve started to plan my next couple of trips and am excited to report that there will be no healthcare- or IT-related educational components. One trip involves camping in bear country, which is a new experience for me. The other involves wine country, so it should be a good balance.

What are your travel plans for the summer? Email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

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