The Aledade Policy Team, Hannah Eichelbaum, Travis Broome, Casey Korba, Sean Cavanaugh, Caroline Smith and Britainy Barnes, at the 2021 Aledade company retreat.
What makes a great patient-doctor relationship? What are the elements that make up a successful ACO? How can independent primary care practices and community health centers (CHCs) thrive? These questions are at the heart of policy at Aledade. But navigating the health care system to get the answers and achieve these goals takes dedicated time and expertise. Policy at Aledade is about data-driven analysis, support and advocacy. The policy team is here to analyze any relevant rules, regulations and legislation that impact physician-led ACOs ‒ and use the data and evidence to ultimately advocate for outcomes that work best for primary care practices and the patients they serve, furthering what is good for patients, good for doctors and good for society. Here’s how we do it.
1. Direct practice support.
While the participation of Aledade ACO member physicians and clinicians is essential to the work of the policy team in helping us understand practice priorities and needs, we understand that their main job is caring for patients and running their practice. So, we make it easy to engage. We work with Aledade field teams to hear practice perspectives and challenges, and are expanding our efforts to provide localized and specialized support through our growing state policy initiative. We also provide targeted analysis and reports to individual practices and CHCs to help them understand the impact of proposed rules or new programs.
2. Data aggregation and analysis.
By gaining an in-depth understanding of the needs of independent physicians, we are able to get “in the weeds” to comment and influence the rules and regs, so you don’t have to (though if you want to, we make it easy for you to send your own letter to your representatives on pressing issues). The differentiator for Aledade is that we use real-world data and outcomes from the practices we work with to promote primary care and population health, value-based care and the critical role independent practices and community health centers are playing to improve health care in their communities and curb unsustainable growth in costs.
3. Advocating for primary care practices.
Ultimately, our goal is to advocate for the alignment of federal and state level policies with the needs of our primary care physicians. Here are some recent outcomes that resulted from the efforts of our policy team:
- We are advocating for Physician Fee Schedule changes for ACOs in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), including areas around risk score caps, the rural glitch and quality measurement. The “rural glitch” is where an ACO reduces its own annual inflation, creating disparate payments between ACOs, even if they have identical performance.
- We helped to bring about regional benchmarking for ACOs: For members of an ACO in the MSSP in their first contract year, CMS previously used a national benchmark to measure quality and cost. Regional benchmarking gives a more accurate picture of the savings ACOs provide to Medicare, and rewards ACOs in high-spending areas to help drive down costs.
- We showed CMS that Admission, Discharge and Transfer (ADT) notices improve health and save money through compiling data and research and broad advocacy. In March 2020, CMS included ADT notices as a condition of participation with Medicare under Medical Record services.
- We championed primary care during the pandemic by:
- Calling for streamlined federal funding to support independent primary care practices; and working with practices to access funding from the Provider Relief Fund, Paycheck Protection Program, and other Small Business Administration programs
- Advocating for appropriate flexibilities for telehealth after the pandemic
- Showing how COVID-19 was accelerating the lack of competition in health care ‒ which is bad for patients, quality, costs and innovation.
So what does this mean for your practice? We want to make it easy for you to engage with us!
- Subscribe to our monthly email. It’s an easy way to ensure you are keeping up on the policy news we are tracking, and you can always reply to our team to share any feedback or questions. We typically stick to a monthly cadence to keep from overwhelming your inbox, but if policy news breaks that you need to hear about we’ll let you know. Not on our list? Aledade ACO member practices can subscribe by emailing [email protected].
- Participate in our Hill Days: We periodically reach out to legislators and arrange meetings with physicians from Aledade’s ACO member practices. It’s incredibly powerful for Congress to hear from their physician constituents. These calls take very little preparation on your part: by sharing your perspective, challenges and concerns around independent primary care and the future of value-based care, physicians have a seat at the table.
- Leverage our content: Visit our policy website, where you’ll find blogs, webinars and published articles to stay informed on the various policy topics we are tracking.
- Reach us directly at [email protected]. We want to hear from you ‒ tell us what’s on your mind and how we can help.