HHS funds to help small practices prepare for the MACRA Quality Payment Program
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced an initiative June 20 to fund small practices preparing for the Quality Payment Program.
The $20 million funding will support on-the-ground training and education for Medicare clinicians in both individual and small group practices of 15 clinicians or fewer – especially in historically under-resourced areas including rural and medically underserved areas.
"Doctors and healthcare providers in small and rural practices are critical to our goal of building a health care system that works for everyone," said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell in a statement. "Supporting local health care providers with the resources and information necessary for them to provide quality care is a top priority for this administration."
The funding is required by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, and HHS will continue to award $20 million each year over the next five years to support small practices participating in the Quality Payment Program.
To receive funding, healthcare organizations must demonstrate the ability to provide strategic, customized training to its clinicians. Additionally, organizations must also provide Quality Payment Program education and consultation at no cost to the clinician or their practice.
Organizations that receive funding will evaluate the small practice to determine what is needed to be successful in the Quality Payment program, such as determining the best quality measures or electronic health record for the needs of the specific practice.
These organizations will train clinicians on clinical practice improvement activities and how it can integrate into workflow. Practices will also receive help evaluating options to join an Alternative Payment Model.
"Providing these tools to help physicians and other clinicians in small practices navigate new programs is key to making sure they are able to focus on what is most important: the needs of their patients," said Vindell Washington MD, principal deputy national coordinator, in a statement.
"As with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's funding for Regional Extension Centers, this assistance will help healthcare providers leverage health information technology to enhance their practices and the care they deliver," he added.
HHS will announce the awardees by November, and all qualified organizations are encouraged to apply.