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NAACOS Fall 2020: CMS official talks value-based care progress


In the opening plenary of the NAACOS Fall 2020 conference, CMMI Director Brad Smith talks about the Trump administration’s actions to support healthcare’s transformation to value.

Brad Smith, director of The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) deputy director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, opened the National Association of Accountable Care Organizations (NAACOS) Fall 2020 Conference with a look at what the federal government is doing with value-based care.

Smith said that when he got to Washington D.C. in January, he was tasked with reviewing the 54 payment models used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), but his office was soon drawn into the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic response. He touted not only the actions taken by the federal government, but also the media’s actions reenforcing proper safety procedures such as social distancing and hand washing.

While the government has been focusing on a vaccine or therapeutics, Smith said that CMMI also focused on flexibility in the early days of the pandemic.

“What we recognize is that folks have been going through a very different year than many of us expected,” he said. “And what we hopefully communicated through those flexibilities is that none of us could have ever predicted what happened with COVID. The CMMI and CMS are going to be a good partner to providers and to folks who are participating in our model.”

During the question and answer portion of the plenary, Smith was asked by NAACOS Board Member Travis Broome about payment transformation.

Smith said that the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is likely to accelerate the move toward value-based care.

“I do think people saw value as something that was kind of on the side,” he said. “But I think with some of the changes and the pressures that people have felt over the past month, we see this not only at CMS but with many of our private payers, in this move the value is only going to go faster. Now as I sit here with (CMS Director) Seema (Verna), we're 10 years ahead, at least at CMMI, in this effort to move to value-based care.

“At some point, it becomes really important that we hit a tipping point and that we move from (value-based care) being kind of a side project to being the core way that we reimburse,” he continued. “And that's going to be a big part of our strategy.”

Check out Medical Economics for continued coverage the NAACOS conference, which will run virtually until Oct. 2.

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Jennifer N. Lee, MD, FAAFP
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