HHS plans big Medicare reimbursement changes

Sets ambitious goals in push away from paying for volume
By Mike Miliard
03:09 PM
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In what it's calling a 'historic' announcement, the Department of Health and Human Services has set new goals to speed the U.S. healthcare system toward value-based care.

[See also: Value-based payment models expected to reach tipping point by 2018, study finds]

HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell announced Monday that the agency wants to tie 30 percent of fee-for-service Medicare payments to quality or value through alternative payment models, such as accountable care organizations or bundled payments, by the end of 2016. It also aims to have 50 percent of payments affiliated with these models by the end of 2018.

HHS has also set a goal of tying 85 percent of all traditional Medicare payments to quality or value by 2016 – and 90 percent by 2018 – with help from initiatives such as the Hospital Value Based Purchasing and the Hospital Readmissions Reduction programs.

“We believe these goals can drive transformative change, help us manage and track progress, and create accountability for measurable improvement," said Burwell, in a statement.

This is the first time in the history of Medicare that the agency has set explicit goals for alternative payment models and value-based payments. Essential to this, according to HHS, is the fact that, "through the widespread use of health information technology, the health care data needed to track these efforts is now available."

Read more at Healthcare Finance News.