It seems like forever now that practices have been dealing with multiple, complex, incentive and penalty initiatives from the federal government: Meaningful Use, PQRI/PQRS, eRx, PCMH and, more recently, "value-based" programs (value-based purchasing for hospitals, and the upcoming value-based purchasing modifier for physicians). If you're like us, the onslaught of these programs has seemed more like a series of separate carrots and sticks (amplified by private payer programs that have built on the government's pay-for-performance approach) than a coherent strategy for driving change. Rarely do notices about these programs include helpful guidance as to how they're interrelated. (Perhaps it would just be to hard to fit those details in amongst the deadlines, bureaucratic details and confusing specs!) That is why it is at least helpful to finally be seeing -- after years of programs popping up and interrupting practice operations, demanding attention without saying why (except when why was 'get a bonus' or 'avoid a penalty') -- the outlines of inter-connectedness among all of the government's many programs. For example, Medicare's Physician Compare website provides information about a physician's participation in various quality initiatives, like PQRS and ePrescribe. (This is perhaps a good opportunity to remind you to check this -- and all -- the directories in which you or your providers are listed. There are often errors -- if contact, specialty or location data is incorrect on a key directory, it can cost you patients. And if the CMS has incorrect data about your participation in important incentive programs, you'll want to follow up on that immediately to remedy their data or your submissions. As we say all the time, this need to check goes for payer directories (!) and public directories like Healthgrades and Vitals.) Anyway, a sample of quality participation data as it is displayed on the Medicare site appears below. For some patients, knowing you're participating in these programs could make the difference in selecting your practice: Besides PQRS participation, the Physician Compare site shows participation in ePrescribe and Meaningful Use as well. Of course, the integration of this data into directories is just the beginning.
We just published a new article on Kareo's blog about ACOs. Everyone's talking about them, but we wonder if all the anxiety's warranted. We anticipate there will be a lot of waiting-and-seeing, since the scale requirements (5,000 Medicare patients for main program, 15,000 for the Pioneer program), technology standards (well beyond meaningful use -- intense reporting and analysis of outcomes and savings), and uncertain upside potential should signal caution to all but the most prepared, well-funded and established groups. But, what do you think? Read the full post at Kareo.com.