Obama administration launches partnership to speed transition to value-based care

At a White House event Wednesday, President Barack Obama kicked off the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network, a wide-reaching, public-private collaboration that the administration hopes will speed up the transition to value-based payment models.

"We don't need to reinvent the wheel--you're already figuring what we need to do to reduce infections in hospitals or help patients with complicated needs," Obama said, addressing the gathered healthcare providers. "What we have to do is share these best practices, these new ideas, including new ways to pay for care so that we're rewarding quality. And that's what this network is all about."

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Since the network was first announced in January, more than 2,800 payers, providers, employers, patients, states, consumer groups, consumers and other partners have registered to participate. It's designed to further the Department of Health and Human Services' goal of shifting half of Medicare provider payments to alternative models by 2018, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said, by sharing best practices for value-based care.

"We want to hear about your successes, as well as your misses," she said. "What metrics do you use, how do you define and measure quality, what data can you share, how have you improved the patient experience, how have you learned to better manage care, and what payment models are driving that care coordination? And how have you made your patients active, engaged and better informed consumers?"

To facilitate this collaboration, the network will fulfill the following roles, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS):

  • Serve as a convening body to facilitate joint implementation of new models of payment and care delivery
  • Identify areas of agreement around movement toward alternative payment models and define how best to report on these new payment models
  • Collaborate to generate evidence, share approaches and remove barriers
  • Develop common approaches to core issues such as beneficiary attribution, financial models, benchmarking, quality and performance measurement, risk adjustment and other topics raised for discussion
  • Create implementation guides for payers, purchasers, providers and consumers

CMS Chief Medical Officer Patrick Conway emphasized that the network is meant to be less of a government-mandated program than a broad-based partnership.

"We are going to lead and catalyze from the public sector, but the public-private partnership here is critical," he said.

The network has the backing of several industry groups, including the American Hospital Association (AHA).

"We look forward to joining with HHS to learn what works best and to make [value-based payment] models even more attractive to hospitals, health systems, physicians and other providers of care for the benefit of patients and communities," AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack said in a statement.

For its part, major provider alliance Premier Inc. noted that it has been working on payment and delivery reforms in healthcare "for more than a decade," Blair Childs, senior vice president of public affairs, said in a statement, adding: "We support the goals of the Healthcare Payment and Advanced Learning Network, and will actively share our learnings in the hopes that we can assist others that are just beginning this important journey."

While introducing the new network, Obama passionately defended its catalyst, the Affordable Care Act, which turned 5 years old this week. "It's working, despite countless attempts to repeal, undermine, defund and defame this law," he said.

He also indicated support for legislation recently introduced in the House and Senate that would repeal the long-problematic Sustainable Growth Rate formula and avoid major Medicare payment cuts to doctors, saying "I've got my pen ready to sign a good, bipartisan bill."

To learn more:
- watch a replay of the event
- here's the HHS statement
- check out the CMS fact sheet
- here's a list of participants
- read the AHA statement
- here's the Premier statement