Value-Based Payment Reform and the Medicare Access and Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015: A Primer for Plastic Surgeons
In 2015, the U.S. Congress passed the Medicare Access and Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, which effectively repealed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services sustainable growth rate formula and established the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Quality Payment Program. The Medicare Access and Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act represents an unparalleled acceleration toward value-based payment models and a departure from traditional volume-driven fee-for-service reimbursement. The Quality Payment Program includes two paths for provider participation: the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System and Advanced Alternative Payment Models. The Merit-Based Incentive Payment System pathway replaces existing quality reporting programs and adds several new measures to create a composite performance score for each provider (or provider group) that will be used to adjust reimbursed payment. The advanced alternative payment model pathway is available to providers who participate in qualifying Advanced Alternative Payment Models and is associated with an initial 5 percent payment incentive. The first performance period for the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System opens January 1, 2017, and closes on December 31, 2017, and is associated with payment adjustments in January of 2019. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates that the majority of providers will begin participation in 2017 through the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System pathway, but aims to have 50 percent of payments tied to quality or value through Advanced Alternative Payment Models by 2018. In this article, the authors describe key components of the Medicare Access and Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act to providers navigating through the Quality Payment Program and discuss how plastic surgeons may optimize their performance in this new value-based payment program.