Tuesday, 11 October 2016 04:31

CMS Announces TCPI, HAC/Readmission Reduction Awards to Providers Nationwide

Written by Mark Spivey

Nearly 20 providers received a welcome surprise late last month when the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced hundreds of millions of dollars in funding awards associated with its Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPI) and its continuing push to reduce the prevalence of hospital-acquired conditions and readmissions nationwide.

The two providers chosen to participate in the second round of the Support and Alignment Networks under TCPI were the Virginia Cardiac Services Quality Initiative (VCQI) and the American Psychological Association, each of which will receive more than $650,000 in funding during their first year in the program. In all the two providers will receive $5 million over the next three years to “leverage primary and specialist care transformation work and learning that will catalyze the adoption of Alternative Payment Models on a large scale,” CMS noted in a press release.

“The Support and Alignment Networks 2.0 represents a significant enhancement to the TCPI network expertise and will help clinicians prepare for the proposed new Quality Payment Program, which CMS is implementing as part of bipartisan legislation Congress passed last year repealing the Sustainable Growth Rate, also known as the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA),” the release read. “The TCPI is one of the largest federal investments uniquely designed to support clinician practices through collaborative peer-based learning networks.

The intent of the program includes the following goals, CMS noted: 

  • Improving the quality of care delivered;
  • Rapidly transitioning practices through the phases of transformation in preparation for participation in and alignment with Alternative Payment Models; and
  • Reducing total cost of care.

“Through this initiative, the Support and Alignment Network 2.0 awardees will identify, enroll, and provide tailored technical assistance to advanced clinician practices in order to accelerate transformation and diffuse this learning throughout the TCPI initiative,” CMS noted.

The awardees’ activities, coaching, and technical assistance should result in the rapid transition of practices through five phases of transformation, according to the announcement, including setting aims, using data to drive care, achieving progress on aims, achieving benchmark status, and thriving as a business as pay-for-value becomes a reality.

“This will ultimately position practices to successfully participate in Alternative Payment Models. Critical to this approach is the capacity for these awardees to accurately identify large numbers of clinicians and practices in advanced states of readiness through sound data analytics capabilities, to enroll them into the Support and Alignment 2.0 network, to provide them with tailored technical assistance, and to help them determine the most suitable Alternative Payment Model options,” CMS’s announcement read. “Further, awardees will need to tailor direct technical assistance and support services to these clinicians’ and practices’ needs.”

To participate in the model, awardees committed to the following:

  • Providing quality improvement support to 5,000 or more clinicians;
  • Providing support to a learning network that is multi-regional or national in scope;
  • Collaborating in generating evidence-based guidelines for clinical practice;
  • Engaging in effective use of measurement through clinical registries and electronic health records; and
  • Commitment to improve safety and person and family engagement

Around the same time, CMS also announced the awarding of nearly $350 million in funding awarded through the Hospital Improvement and Innovation Networks to continue patient safety improvement efforts started under the Partnership for Patients initiative. The awards went to 16 national, regional, or state hospital associations, Quality Improvement Organizations, and health system organizations to continue efforts in reducing hospital-acquired conditions and readmissions.

The recipient organizations included:

  • Carolinas Healthcare System
  • Dignity Health
  • Healthcare Association of New York State
  • HealthInsight
  • The Health Research and Educational Trust of the American Hospital Association
  • Health Research and Educational Trust of New Jersey
  • Health Services Advisory Group
  • The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania
  • Iowa Healthcare Collaborative
  • Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) Health Foundation
  • Minnesota Hospital Association
  • Ohio Children’s Hospitals’ Solutions for Patient Safety
  • Ohio Hospital Association
  • Premier, Inc.
  • Vizient, Inc.
  • Washington State Hospital Association

For more information on the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative, go online to: https://innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/Transforming-Clinical-Practices/.

To view CMS’s press release on the $350 million in awards, go online to: https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Press-releases/2016-Press-releases-items/2016-09-29.html

Mark Spivey is a national correspondent for VBPmonitor.com. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Last modified on Tuesday, 11 October 2016 17:12