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MedPAC

The Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC) voted last week and unanimously recommended a five percent payment reduction for inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs), skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), and home health agencies (HHAs). There was no additional feedback provided with this recommendation; however, additional information should be provided in their upcoming March 2022 report to Congress.

Also worth noting was that MedPAC discussed its mandated report related to designing a value incentive program (VIP) for post-acute care (PAC). This report is required under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, and this was the commission’s second session dedicated to development of the PAC VIP. The report is due to Congress by March 15, 2022. Due to the limited time to develop the report, MedPAC asserted it would not be making a formal recommendation in the March Report to Congress. Also during this session, MedPAC shared its plan to submit its separate report on a unified post-acute care payment prototype to Congress in 2023.

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During the January 2018 Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) public meeting, the agenda included the topic of the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). MedPAC members voted in favor of recommending Congress eliminate this system, stating the program was burdensome and complex. The presentation also cited that the program “Replicates flaws of prior value-based purchasing programs.” It was recommended that MIPS be replaced with a new model known as the voluntary value program (VVP). The VVP would include an across-the-board withhold for all fee schedule payments, and performance would be assessed using uniform measures across three categories, which include clinical quality, patient experience, and value. Those in favor of the new program indicated it would better prepare physicians to participate in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act’s (MACRA) Advanced Alternative Payment models.

The agenda included many additional topics of interest, some of which referenced increasing the equity of Medicare’s payments within each setting, mandated report on telehealth services and the Medicare program, and a status report on Medicare Accountable Care Organizations.

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has released its June 2017 Report to Congress: Medicare and the Health Care Delivery System. This report includes, among other topics, a chapter focusing on implementing a unified payment system for post-acute care. Specifics in this chapter includes implementing a post-acute care prospective payment system (PAC PPS) beginning in 2021 with a three-year transition, lower aggregate payments by five percent, absent prior reductions to the levels of payments, start to align setting-specific regulatory requirements, and periodically revise and rebase payments to keep payments aligned with the cost of care.

Some of the topics included in the other chapters include Medicare Part B drug payment policy issues; redesigning the merit-based incentive payment system (MIPS) and strengthening advanced alternative payment models, etc. MedPAC also released a fact sheet on the report.

On September 10, 2015, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) conducted a public meeting to discuss Medicare issues and policy questions and approve reports and recommendations to the Congress. Included in the agenda was a session that focused on MedPAC’s task of developing a prototype prospective payment system (PPS) that spans across the post-acute care (PAC) settings, as mandated by the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act of 2014. The IMPACT Act requires MedPAC to submit a report to Congress regarding this by Thursday, June 30, 2016. Included in the meeting was their presentation Mandated Report: Developing a Unified Payment System for Post-Acute Care. It is expected that MedPAC will conduct multiple public meetings in the months ahead regarding the development of PAC PPS before presenting their draft recommendations.