Policy Update: PHE Continues, State Policy at Aledade, ACO REACH Webinar

June 3, 2022

As we get closer to the official start of summer, we are in a policy lull in terms of news to share. We expect things to kick into high gear as we approach the release of the proposed Physician Fee Schedule for 2023 in July. In the draft, we will be watching closely for a fix to the rural glitch, MSSP quality updates, and any movement on telehealth. 
 
PHE to Continue into the Fall
The Administration has said it will give notice when HHS intends to end the PHE within 60 days. That 60 days was up on May 16; no announcement was made and federal officials told multiple media outlets that the PHE would continue beyond July. Another 90-day extension will take us through October 9th and the telehealth flexibilities will be in place through the end of 2022. 
 
State Policy at Aledade
We commonly hear that physicians are interested in and curious about how to ensure their voices are heard in the health care advocacy space but aren’t sure how, or what step to take first. The State Policy Program aims to address state-level needs through increasing issue awareness, educating policymakers, and convening champion physicians and other advocates to shape the future of accountable care in the state. Activities are centered around an Aledade physician-led policy committee, composed of clinicians and practice leadership, that meets regularly to work towards meaningful solutions to identified advocacy priorities. Physicians and practice managers also benefit from the same type of policy intelligence we do at the national level applied to the state level.
 
In our newest policy blog, we spotlight the State Policy Program and recent activities in Arkansas that have centered around this advocacy work, including a practice visit from a US senator and the resulting proposed legislation to address physician shortages. This program is a new and growing Aledade offering with plans to expand in Alabama, Oregon, Georgia, and Pennsylvania in 2022. This builds on our base of Arkansas, Michigan, North Carolina, California, Mississippi, and Colorado. Even if your state has not yet rolled out, we can help with specific situations. As always, email us at [email protected]
 
Identifying and Strengthening Primary Care Relationships
In 2019, 74 percent of original Medicare beneficiaries saw their primary care physician at least once. In 2022, that was down to 71 percent. This is one million fewer Medicare beneficiaries seeing their primary care physician either in person or via telehealth in 2022. While Aledade ACOs did not shrink like the national numbers, we are not growing either. Our benchmark methodologies, our interventions, our policy advocacy, everything is based on the premise that more primary care is better. We must engage and advance the right local policies and activities to push back against this national trend. 
 
REACH vs MSSP: Upcoming Webinar
Previously known as Direct Contracting, the ACO REACH (“Realizing Equity, Access and Community Health”) program was created by the CMS Innovation Center to improve the quality of care for people with Medicare through better care coordination, reaching and connecting health care providers and beneficiaries, including those who are underserved. What does this mean for independent primary care practices and community health centers?  
 
Join Britainy Barnes, our Policy Specialist, on Wednesday, June 8th at 1:00 pm Eastern to learn more. Register here.
 
Welcome Sara, Our New Summer Intern!
We are thrilled to welcome Sara Debab as the Policy Team’s summer intern, beginning June 6. Sara recently graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA, and will be helping the team with our state and federal advocacy efforts this summer. 
 
Thank you for everything you are doing.