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As 2018 and Year 2 of the chaotic Trump Administration kick off, trying to predict what will happen in Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act is as challenging as ever. It’s a midterm election year with terrible headwinds for the GOP, so the legislative calendar is abbreviated, and partisan rancor will peak. That makes it less likely Republicans will get to do much damage but also more likely they will try to serve up red meat for their base, like a return to “repeal and replace.” Congressional leaders, fresh off their billionaire bailout tax bill, are already talking about taking up “reform” (aka cuts) of Medicare and Medicaid and other social welfare programs. The only thing that is certain is 2018 will be another battleground year for government health programs.
“Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them.” ―William Arthur Ward
The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) held a public meeting last week and had a full plate of a variety of topics from Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) to Medicare Part B drug payment issues.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) had almost 4,000 responses from providers and health plans regarding the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). With almost 1 million provider groups potentially impacted by the proposed rule, small groups and individual practitioners (primary care physicians (PCPs) and specialists) are being forced to think of their medical practices as a real business. Most of these providers do not have the robust infrastructure compared to their clinical counterparts that fall into the Alternative Payment Model (APM) buckets — Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), Independent Practice Associations (IPAs), or Clinically Integrated Networks (CINs).
When a team works well together, the members collectively accomplish more than any of the individuals could have accomplished alone. Certainly we have proven that adage true in healthcare as can be seen with the success of integrated delivery systems, Independent Physician Associations (IPAs), and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).
Building A New Provider Network or Planning Your Next Service Area Expansion? Don’t Lose Sight of Your Biggest Asset
The sun is shining, kids are out of school, and vacation season is in full swing! While our Health Plan Network and Product teams are taking a few deep breaths after application and bid filing deadlines, we cannot rest on our laurels for very long. Summer is the best time to start planning your next service area expansion (SAE) or even your first step into the Medicare Advantage (MA) world. Maybe you are an established MA plan evaluating where to expand your geographic footprint. Maybe you are a Medicaid plan looking to expand into the Managed Long Term Services and Supports (MLTSS) arena and are wondering what it would take to have a Dual Eligible Special Needs Plan so many of the MLTSS Requests for Proposal (RFPs) are expecting; or maybe you are an Accountable Care Organization looking to leverage your infrastructure and enter the payer world. Perhaps, maybe, summer is the perfect time to start planning for your network needs. Plans need to be even more vigilant in managing their largest asset. Regardless of the size and scope of the organization, your plan’s network adequacy and accessibility is a cornerstone of any new initiative.