AMGA Urges CMS to Continue Move to Value During COVID-19 Pandemic

July 8, 2020

The American Medical Group Association (AMGA) today recommended that CMS reverse its decision to forgo the 2021 application cycle for the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) and maintain the progression through levels of risk in the program.

Alexandria, VA—The American Medical Group Association (AMGA) today recommended that CMS reverse its decision to forgo the 2021 application cycle for the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) and maintain the progression through levels of risk in the program. While CMS has taken several steps to support health care providers during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency, the transition to value-based care should continue. Providers have adopted new care management strategies because of the pandemic, and the lessons learned will inform care delivery models in the future. Those providers that voluntarily wish to enter the MSSP should have an opportunity to do so.

“CMS has instituted a number of changes to support providers and their patients during the national public health emergency,” said AMGA President and CEO Jerry Penso, MD, MBA. “But the work to move our delivery system to one that prioritizes value needs to continue. We cannot afford to pause the progress that we have made in the transition to value-based care, and cancelling the 2021 application cycle for the MSSP will unnecessarily inhibit that transition.”

CMS’ interim final rule also provides those accountable care organizations (ACOs) participating in the BASIC track of the MSSP with an option to maintain their current risk level for an additional year. However, those ACOs that select this option will not advance to the next level of risk in sequential order. For example, a “Level B” ACO that selects to remain at Level B will move to Level D the following year, bypassing Level C. While AMGA supports the option for ACOs to remain in their current risk level, CMS should not then move them past a stage and into a more advanced risk level automatically. It is important that ACOs continue to assume additional risk incrementally.

The letter is available on the AMGA website.