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CMS Offers $10M in Grants to Help Physicians Transition to MACRA

June 13, 2016
by Heather Landi
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its awarding up to $10 million over the next three years to organizations providing assistance to clinicians in the transition to the new quality payment system outlined under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).

According to CMS, this opportunity will provide up to $10 million over the next three years to “leverage primary and specialist care transformation work and learning that will catalyze the adoption of Alternative Payment Models at very large scale, and with very low cost.”

The $10 million will fund the second round of the Support and Alignment Networks under the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPI), which currently consists of 39 national and regional healthcare networks and supporting organizations—Practice Transformation Networks and Support and Alignment Networks—that support clinicians preparing for the payment changes under MACRA. The organizations help clinicians transform the way they deliver care and participate in Alternative Payment Models (APMs), a key part of the proposed quality Payment Program/

In a blog post, Patrick Conway, M.D., CMS acting principal deputy administrator and chief medical officer, wrote, “TCPI helps more clinicians to improve quality, coordinate care, and spend dollars more wisely by providing peer-to-peer support to primary and specialty physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, clinical pharmacists, and their practices. For clinicians that elect to participate in MIPS, this support will help them be successful. Participating networks also disseminate best practices and provide technical assistance and coaching to practices that are moving towards participation in APMs.”

Conway also stated, “Today’s announcement continues to support clinicians across the country in transforming their practices by requiring competitive applications to have signed commitments to enroll a minimum 5,000 or more eligible clinicians and their practices in their network. These clinician practices must be advanced in delivering high-quality and efficient care, so that they can quickly learn from the initiative, support improvement at scale, and join APMs.”

Through the initiative, organizations will identify, enroll, and provide tailored technical assistance to advanced practices in an effort to reduce Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) program expenditures by transitioning practices through the phases of transformation and enhancing the quality, efficiency, and coordination of care they deliver, according to CMS.

CMS will award cooperative agreement funding to successful applicants that may include health care delivery systems and health care delivery plans. Medical professional associations and specialty societies may also apply.

Those applying should be able to provide quality improvement support to a large number of clinicians; are multi-regional or national in scope; are involved in generating evidence-based guidelines for clinical practice; are effectively using measurement through clinical registries and electronic health records; and are committed to expanding action to improve safety and person and family engagement. 

Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to submit a letter of intent by July 1, 2016. Letters of intent may be submitted to transformation@cms.hhs.gov.

The application deadline is July 11 and applications must be submitted via www.grants.gov.

CMS anticipates announcing awards this fall.

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