December 15, 2022

Whitehouse Introduces Bipartisan Legislation Improving Quality of Care for America’s Seniors

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today joined Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) in introducing the Preserving Access to Value Based Care Act.  This bipartisan legislation ensures health care providers through Medicare continue to commit to value-based models, or Alternative Payment Models (APMs).

“Rhode Island’s accountable care organizations have been national leaders at improving patient care and lowering costs.  Medicare has earned back millions from their success,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “We need to encourage more health care innovation – not pull the rug out from under the people who are making the system work better for everyone.  There is strong bipartisan support for our proposal to allow these providers to continue delivering high-quality coordinated care.”

“As a doctor, I know how critical it is for Medicare to meet the health care needs of American seniors.  There is agreement on both sides of the aisle that Alternative Payment Models (APMs) are a key solution to help more seniors receive better care at a lower cost,” said Senator Barrasso.  “Our bipartisan legislation will ensure this incentive program continues to help provide the highest quality care for seniors across the country.”

APMs reimburse providers for the quality of care, rather than the number of services they provide.  Physicians who participate in APMs overwhelmingly agree that value-based care delivers high quality care. 

The bipartisan Preserving Access to Value Based Care Act will extend the five percent advanced APM incentive payment for providers an additional two years.  The bill also ensures that qualification thresholds remain at attainable levels for practices that participate in Medicare’s advanced APMs.  This incentive-based payment is set to expire at the end of 2022 if Congress does not extend the program.

“On behalf of the Rhode Island Medical Society, we applaud Senators Whitehouse and Barrasso for introducing the Preserving Access to Value Based Care Act.  Value Based Care is the path to a health care system that is both more effective and more cost-effective.  As practicing physicians, we know how critical these incentive payments have been to grow and develop this model of payment which has already been shown to improve care and saved millions of dollars for Medicare.  Now is not the time to revert to traditional fee-for-service payments and this bill provides a critical extension required to further develop and spread this highly effective physician payment mechanism,” said Rhode Island Medical Society President Thomas A. Bledsoe, MD, MACP.

“These critical incentives Congress created, which expire at the end of the year, have been instrumental to fuel the transition to value-based care, which provides patients and our health system with better outcomes and higher quality care.  We thank Sen. Barrasso and Sen. Whitehouse for their leadership and look forward to working with lawmakers to extend these critical incentives that help clinicians invest in their practices and expand care beyond traditional fee-for-service,” ­said Clif Gaus, Sc.D., President and CEO of the National Association of ACOs (NAACOS)

“With each passing year, it becomes more urgent to provide physicians with greater opportunities to participate in Alternative Payment Models (APMs) when they can improve quality and value for patients while reducing burdens on physicians and practices.  While it’s also important to maintain a viable fee-for-service option, the burdensome Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) contributes to physician burnout by requiring physicians to annually spend about $12,800 and more than 200 hours of staff time on compliance instead of patient care.  A robust set of APMs is crucial to alleviating this burden.  We applaud Sens. Whitehouse and Barrasso for this common-sense bill to extend the APM incentive payments for two years and permit physicians to gradually increase their degree of participation in value-based care models,” said American Medical Association President Jack Resneck Jr., M.D.

Meaghan McCabe, (401) 453-5294

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Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921