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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 20, 2016
Contact: HHS Press Office
202-690-6343
media@hhs.gov

HHS Announces Major Initiative to Help Small Practices Prepare for the Quality Payment Program

Over the last few weeks, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has made several important announcements related to the Quality Payment Program, which has been proposed to implement the new, bipartisan law changing how Medicare pays clinicians, known as the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, or MACRA. Today, we are announcing $20 million to fund on-the-ground training and education for Medicare clinicians in individual or small group practices of 15 clinicians or fewer. 

These funds will help provide hands-on training tailored to small practices, especially those that practice in historically under-resourced areas including rural areas, health professional shortage areas, and medically underserved areas. 

“Doctors and health care providers in small and rural practices are critical to our goal of building a health care system that works for everyone,” said Secretary Burwell. “Supporting local health care providers with the resources and information necessary for them to provide quality care is a top priority for this administration.”

As required by MACRA, HHS will continue to award $20 million each year over the next five years, providing $100 million in total to help small practices successfully participate in the Quality Payment Program. In order to receive funding, organizations must demonstrate their ability to strategically provide customized training to clinicians. And, most importantly, these organizations will provide education and consultation about the Quality Payment Program at no cost to the clinician or their practice.

“The bipartisan MACRA legislation gave us the tools to improve Medicare and make it modern and sustainable by improving the incentives for and lowering the burden on clinicians,” said Dr. Patrick Conway, acting principal deputy administrator and chief medical officer for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “Real change must start from the ground up, and today’s announcement recognizes this reality by  getting doctors the resources they need to provide better, smarter care.”

Organizations receiving the funding would support small practices by helping them think through what they need to be successful under the Quality Payment Program, such as what quality measures and/or electronic health record (EHR) may be appropriate for their practices’ needs. Organizations would also train clinicians about the new clinical practice improvement activities and how these new activities could fit into their practices’ workflow, or help practices evaluate their options for joining an Alternative Payment Model. 

“Providing these tools to help physicians and other clinicians in small practices navigate new programs is key to making sure they are able to focus on what is most important: the needs of their patients,” said B. Vindell Washington MD, MHCM, FACEP, principal deputy national coordinator. “As with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s funding for Regional Extension Centers, this assistance will help health care providers leverage health information technology to enhance their practices and the care they deliver.”

Awardees will be announced by November 2016.  HHS encourages all qualified organizations to apply for this funding.

To learn more about today’s announcement and how to apply, please contact https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=57766996f8ecd4749cd4b18e60f63a8e&tab=core&_cview=1.

For more information on the Quality Payment Program, please visit: https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-Patient-Assessment-Instruments/Value-Based-Programs/MACRA-MIPS-and-APMs/Quality-Payment-Program.html

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Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other news materials are available at https://www.hhs.gov/news.
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Last revised: June 20, 2016

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