Yes – but only if insurers do their part.
Thousands of primary care providers transformed their practices to patient-centered medical homes in preparation for performance-based payment models. No doubt some groups submitted NCQA application for PCMH recognition status, but little changed in their day-to-day work flow. They just churned through as many patients as possible because their fee-for-service payments remained the key to their economic survival.
However, some of us actually made substantial investments in how we delivered patient care. We believed these new payment models promised to economically align payers, providers and, dare we even say it, patients. We examined and changed everything we did to prepare, with the full understanding that we were going to risk our payment if we missed the mark on quality and cost. We even considered alternative payment models (APMs), where we would pay money back to the payer if we missed the mark. Of course, these opportunities were touted to yield much bigger payments than the best of the fee-for-service contracts, but who would have ever “thunk it” -- doctors leaping head first into a risk-based payment model where they might have to refund payments to the payer for failure to meet cost benchmarks!
At first, it worked. High-performing practicesimprove patient outcomes and experience and lower the overall costs of care. But in many markets, the APMs that would provide long-term economic sustainability to these high-performing groups never materialized.