The Obama administration wants 30% of payments for traditional Medicare benefits to be tied to alternative payment models such as accountable care organizations by the end of 2016. The administration also has set a goal of hitting 50% by the end of 2018.
The administration wants even larger portions of hospital payments to be tied to quality- or value-based payment models. HHS indicated that it wants 85% of Medicare's hospital payments made through programs such as the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program or the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program by the end of 2016. That threshold kicks up to 90% two years later.
It is the first time that the federal agency has set specific goals for overhauling the payment system for standard Medicare beneficiaries, which has traditionally relied on a fee-for-service model. That system has long been criticized for providing economic incentives for providers to offer a greater volume of care regardless of outcomes. Currently, 20% of Medicare payments for traditional beneficiaries are made through alternative payments models, which also include bundled payment arrangements, according to HHS.