The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma have announced the CMS Primary Cares Initiative, a new set of payment models that will transform primary care to deliver better value for patients throughout the healthcare system. Building on the lessons learned from and experiences of the previous models, the CMS Primary Cares Initiative will reduce administrative burdens and empower primary care providers to spend more time caring for patients while reducing overall healthcare costs. The models were developed by the Innovation Center under the leadership of Adam Boehler and are part of Secretary Azar’s value-based transformation initiative.
Empirical evidence shows that strengthening primary care is associated with higher quality, better outcomes, and lower costs within and across major population subgroups. Despite this evidence, primary care spending accounts for a small portion of total cost of care, and is even lower for patients with complex, chronic conditions. Primary care clinicians serve on the front lines of the healthcare delivery system, furnishing services across a wide range of specialties, from family medicine to behavioral health to gerontology. For many patients, the primary care clinician is the first point of contact with the healthcare delivery system. CMS’s experience with innovative models, programs and demonstrations to date have shown that when incentives for primary care clinicians are aligned to reward the provision of high value care, the quality and cost effectiveness of patient care improves.