CMS picks 7 groups to help close gaps in QPP quality measures | Next Gen ACOs join forces to promote the program | NCQA unveils health plan quality ratings
September 25, 2018
CV Quality SmartBrief
Transforming Health Care from the Inside Out
First Focus
CMS picks 7 groups to help close gaps in QPP quality measures
Seven organizations were chosen by the CMS to improve and expand quality measures for Medicare's Quality Payment Program. The CMS said the groups, which will work on the areas of orthopedic surgery, pathology, radiology, mental health and substance use, oncology and palliative care, will fill in gaps in the QPP measure set.
Healthcare Dive (9/24) 
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Next Gen ACOs join forces to promote the program
A group of 29 accountable care organizations in the Next Generation ACO program is working with the CMS to promote the program and help ensure its long-term viability. Mara McDermott of America's Physician Groups said the ACOs will showcase their successes and provide lessons for other ACOs in the program.
FierceHealthcare (9/21) 
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NCQA unveils health plan quality ratings
Eight percent of 1,040 health plans received a top rating of 4.5 or 5 in the National Committee for Quality Assurance's health plan quality ratings report. Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine had the highest percentage of plans rated at 4.5 or 5.
Healthcare Finance (9/21) 
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RFP For New Biomarker Research
The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World is launching an RFP to develop biomarkers that can discern between nicotine product-use groups, identify dual- and multi-product use, & distinguish product use from environmental sources. Read more about our RFP.
Practice & Hospital Management
Studies suggest risks of value-based payment models
Research published in JAMA Internal Medicine found hospitals and clinicians in value-based and alternative payment models may be penalized for caring for patients who are sicker, have mental health and cognitive impairments, or have a lower socioeconomic status. An accompanying editorial said the risk in value-based payment models is that clinicians, payers and hospitals may see benefits in avoiding high-risk populations because resources used to treat them may exceed payment.
Medscape (free registration) (9/21) 
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Report: Hospitals struggle to adjust to new health care landscape
Hospitals are losing net income as the nation's health care system continues shifting away from a fee-for-service model and embracing value-based care and population health, according to a report from Fitch Ratings. Moreover, a tight health care labor market puts wage pressure on hospitals, according to the report.
Forbes (9/21) 
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Virtual & Live Nuclear Cardiology Programming
Discover opportunities for growth in cardiovascular imaging and gain clinical skills you can apply in your practice. Learn more about virtual and live educational offerings from SNMMI, including a dedicated Cardiology track at the SNMMI 2019 Mid-Winter Meeting, January 17-19 in Palm Springs.
E-Health Watch
Experts suggest ways to improve EHR systems
Medical practices are advised to provide adequate EHR training for physicians, seek help from physicians in EHR development and clinical workflow design, and establish an EHR governance process, according to a white paper released by the Stanford University School of Medicine. The document also recommends presenting data in a user-friendly format, reducing clinician burden by offloading non-essential EHR tasks to other staff, and allowing patients to digitally maintain their EHRs.
EHR Intelligence (9/21) 
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Other News Highlights
Spotlight on Innovation
Companies, groups make commitments to Biden Cancer Initiative
The Biden Cancer Initiative summit last week resulted in 57 commitments and recommitments by companies and organizations building from the White House Cancer Moonshot as part of an effort to reduce the burdens on cancer patients and families. The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, which already had promised $25 million in grants to reduce health disparities, said it would continue funding support, and Deloitte said it will hold a competition in 2019 for early cancer detection tests.
FierceHealthcare (9/21) 
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Costs & Reimbursement
CMS plans new value-based payment models
CMS Administrator Seema Verma said the agency will be unveiling new payment models centered on high-cost areas such as cancer, chronic disease and end-stage renal disease care as part of ongoing efforts to advance value-based care, and HHS Secretary Alex Azar said some of the models could be mandatory. The agencies noted health care providers can expect reduced regulatory burdens and more effective quality measures, but they must be willing to increase their share of risk.
Healthcare Finance (9/20) 
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Groups urge CMS to reconsider proposed changes to MSSP
Nine health care groups wrote a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma expressing concerns about proposed changes to the Medicare Shared Savings Program, particularly its plans to shorten the duration accountable care organizations spend in one-side risk models from six to two years and to reduce the shared savings rate from 50% to 25%. The proposals could deter participation, the groups wrote, adding that "MSSP remains a voluntary program, and it's essential to have the right balance of risk and reward to continue program growth and success."
HealthLeaders Media (9/21),  Healthcare Informatics online (9/21) 
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ACC News
ACC Comments on Changes to E/M Services in CMS' Proposed PFS Rule
The ACC recently joined other stakeholders in submitting coalition letters to Congress and the CMS voicing concerns with evaluation and management coding and payment proposals included in the 2019 Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule. These letters are the latest in a series of efforts by the College to address comprehensive, and potentially disruptive, payment policy changes included in the proposed rule. In addition, the ACC joined the American Medical Association and other groups in submitting a similar sign-on letter in late August, in addition to providing CMS with independent comments on how proposed changes to payments for E/M services, the Quality Payment Program, appropriate use criteria program for advanced imaging, and other key areas could affect cardiovascular professionals. Read more on
JACC: Heart Failure Call For Papers: Heart Failure in Women
Heart failure is a significant global epidemic -- and sex-related differences in the epidemiology, pathophysiology, risk factors and outcomes may be significant in our efforts to understand and treat it. Focusing on the growing body of literature surrounding heart failure in women, JACC: Heart Failure will publish a special issue on this topic in March 2019. Papers will be accepted through Nov. 30. Topics spanning this theme will be considered, including epidemiology, diagnosis and prognosis, short- and long-term outcomes, clinical management, phenotyping, emerging therapies, comorbidities, the role of biomarkers and other relevant issues. Interested authors should review instructions and submit their papers via When entering manuscript information, please select "Heart Failure in Women" from the Special Issues pull-down menu in the Keywords, Categories, Special Sections tab. Learn more on
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Tests are a gift. And great tests are a great gift. To fail the test is a misfortune. But to refuse the test is to refuse the gift, and something worse, more irrevocable, than misfortune.
Lois McMaster Bujold, writer
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This news roundup is provided as a timely update to ACC members and partners interested in quality health care topics in the news media. Links to articles are provided for the convenience of the health care professionals who may find them of use in discussions with patients or colleagues. Opinions expressed in ACC Quality First SmartBrief are those of the identified authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the American College of Cardiology. On occasion, media articles may include or imply incorrect information about the ACC and its policies, positions, or relationships. For clarification on ACC positions and policies, we refer you to
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