CMS awards up to $5M to help doctors prepare for MACRA


In order to get physicians ready to adopt alternative payment models on a large scale, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Thursday awarded up to $5 million to two healthcare organizations.

The awards were made under the second round of the Support and Alignment Networks under the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPI), which was launched in 2014 to support clinician practices through collaborative peer-based learning networks, according to a CMS announcement.

The money will help primary care and specialist physicians prepare for the proposed new Quality Payment Program, which CMS is implementing under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). The money will go to support better information technology, care coordination and quality-improvement efforts. 

In the first year of the award, almost $1.4 million in funding will go to:

  • Virginia Cardiac Services Quality Initiative in the amount of $670,673
  • American Psychological Association in the amount of $723,600

The two organizations will be eligible for up to $5 million over the next three years, CMS said. “Critical to this approach is the capacity for these awardees to accurately identify large numbers of clinicians and practices in advanced states of readiness through sound data analytics capabilities, to enroll them into the Support and Alignment 2.0 network, to provide them with tailored technical assistance and to help them determine the most suitable alternative payment model options,” CMS said.

The two organizations were awarded funding based on their ability to provide quality improvement support to 5,000 or more clinicians, provide support to a multi-regional or national learning network, collaborate in generating evidence-based guidelines for clinical practice and measure progress through clinical registries and electronic health records.

In the first round of funding, CMS last fall awarded $685 million to 39 healthcare organizations to help equip employees with tools that will improve quality of care, better support patient access to data and lower costs.

The industry is still awaiting CMS’ final rule on MACRA. Andy Slavitt, acting administrator for CMS, speaking at the CAPG Colloquium in the District of Columbia on Thursday, declined to offer a clue as to when the document could be released, though it is expected sometime this fall.