CMMI’s New Comprehensive Primary Care Plus: Its Promise And Missed Opportunities

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI, or “the Innovation Center”) recently announced an initiative called Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+). It evolved from the Comprehensive Primary Care (CPC) initiative, which began in 2012 and runs through the end of this year. Both initiatives are designed to promote and support primary care physicians in organizing their practices to deliver comprehensive primary care services. Comprehensive Primary Care Plus has some very promising components, but also misses some compelling opportunities to further advance payment for primary care services.

The earlier initiative, CPC, paid qualified primary care practices a monthly fee per Medicare beneficiary to support practices in making changes in the way they deliver care, centered on five comprehensive primary care functions: (1) access and continuity; (2) care management; (3) comprehensiveness and coordination; (4) patient and caregiver engagement; and, (5) planned care and population health. For all other care, regular fee-for-service (FFS) payment continued. The initiative was limited to seven regions where CMMI could reach agreements with key private insurers and the Medicaid program to pursue a parallel approach. The evaluation funded by CMMI found quality improvements and expenditure reductions, but savings did not cover the extra payments to practices.

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