HHS backs emergency physician-focused Medicare alternative payment model

HHS has endorsed a Medicare alternative payment model focused on emergency physicians, according to the national medical society that developed the model.

The American College of Emergency Physicians said Oct. 11 that HHS Secretary Alex Azar expressed his support of the Acute Unscheduled Care Model developed by ACEP, via an official response to the physician-focused Payment Model Technical Advisory Committee. The committee, established by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, reviews and assesses proposed physician-focused payment models and makes recommendations to HHS. HHS then posts a response to the recommendations.

In Mr. Azar's response to the committee, he said the Acute Unscheduled Care Model is a "creative proposal to address ED [emergency department] payment policy that focuses on the safe discharge of patients, follow-up care for 30 days post-ED visit, and hospitalizations or other avoidable post-ED visit events and their associated costs."

He also indicated interest in looking at how the concepts in the bundled, risk-based payment model could be incorporated into models being developed at CMS' Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.

ACEP spokesperson Steve Arnoff said his organization developed the model to open opportunity for emergency physicians to participate in an alternative payment model. And now that HHS has provided a response, ACEP said it looks forward to future efforts by the the center for innovation.


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