APG Urges HHS Not to Shut Down Direct Contracting Model in Medicare Program

Washington, DC – America’s Physician Groups (APG) today, along with hundreds of other groups, urged HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra not to cancel the Global and Professional Direct Contracting (GPDC) model and instead make adjustments to the program. Killing the GPDC model would especially hurt underserved populations where the program has disproportionately more providers caring for patients.

“The direct contracting program is good for patients, it’s good for providers, and it strengthens the Medicare program,” said Don Crane, APG President and CEO. “Killing the direct contracting program at this stage is just bad policy. It would not only hurt Medicare beneficiaries, it would undermine the important work of the CMS Innovation Center. In particular, many of the physicians in this model are now able to provide care to historically underserved communities where there are deep health disparities…why would we hurt this progress?”

In a sign-on letter to Secretary Becerra, APG and other groups outline how the GPDC model, the next evolution in accountable care organizations (ACOs), is providing higher quality care at a lower cost for patients in traditional Medicare. The groups say that instead of ending the GPDC, CMS should adjust some aspects of the model, including limiting participation to certain types of groups, adding more protections for beneficiaries, and changing its name to help communicate more clearly the intent of the program.

“Contrary to the misinformation from opponents, patients in traditional fee-for-service Medicare that are involved in the direct contracting program maintain their freedom to see any willing provider,” said Crane. “In fact, they not only keep all of their original Medicare benefits and rights, they get additional benefits and lower costs, too.”

APG says that direct contracting is a needed high-risk, value-based payment model that was designed to improve patient care. The CMS Innovation Center, set up under the Affordable Care Act, is an important tool to test value-based payment models like the direct contracting model that make healthcare more affordable while also improving quality of care.

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About America’s Physician Groups
America’s Physician Groups is a national association representing more than 335 physician groups with approximately 170,000 physicians providing care to nearly 90 million patients. APG’s tagline, ‘Taking Responsibility for America’s Health,’ represents our members’ vision to move from the antiquated, dysfunctional fee-for-service reimbursement system to a clinically integrated, value-based healthcare system where physician groups are accountable for the coordination, cost, and quality of patient care. Visit us at www.apg.org.

Contact: Greg Phillips, APG Director of Communications, 202-770-1901, gphillips@apg.org