The long wait is over. President Obama’s made it official with his signature today.
For more than a decade, it kept doctors in limbo. Each year, Congress would pass temporary “doc fixes” to set Medicare and Medicaid payments rates for providers. Lawmakers passed these short-term patches 17 times without fixing the real problem. Now, with the passage of the “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015,” there is finally a process in place for doctors to receive Medicare payments based on the value of the care they provide, rather than the volume.
With this rare show of support from both sides of the aisles, Congress improves the quality of health care for all Americans. By repealing the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and replacing it with a value-based payment model, Congress grants better access for Medicare patients and moves the quality agenda forward.
This shift to a value-based payment model incentivizes doctors for the quality of care they provide to their patients, rather than the amount of patients they see each day. That’s good news for patients and the doctors who treat them—including more than 9,000 NCQA-Recognized Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs).
The new law also streamlines requirements for quality reporting. Certified Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMH) and Patient-Centered Specialty Practices (PCSP), as defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, will receive automatic credit for their efforts to improve the quality of care. That means providers can worry less about how they’re paid and focus even more on the patient’s needs.
The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) supports the consolidation of quality incentive programs into one value-based payment model. The model puts the patients at the center of the system. We commend Congress and President Obama for pulling together in a remarkably bipartisan fashion to center their attention on the patient, too.
Frank Micciche is NCQA’s Vice President of Public Policy and Communications. In this position, he directs NCQA’s relations with Congress, federal agencies and the states, as well as NCQA’s work with the media and other external audiences.