Debate over quality measures among Medicare's first accountable care organizations and federal officials will likely have significance for the 220 (and growing) other accountable care efforts under Medicare, a former CMS administrator says.
Dr. Mark McClellan, director of the Brookings Institution's Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform and one-time head of the CMS, speaking at the National Accountable Care Organization Summit in Washington late last week said the CMS had not yet finalized a response to critics of quality targets as accountable care under Medicare enters its second year.
Those critics are among Medicare's Pioneer accountable care initiative, a group of 32 ACOs that agreed to sign the first and most ambitious contracts to test the payment model. In February, many of the Pioneers urged federal officials to put off more demanding quality measures for a year. The CMS rejected the request, but agreed to draft new performance benchmarks.
Those benchmarks have yet to be released.
McClellan said once final, the benchmarks could have implications for Medicare's second, larger accountable care effort. He said a group was formed with the CMS to tackle the benchmark and quality measure dispute and more was expected in coming weeks.