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CMS Announces New Voluntary Primary Care Model in Eight States

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced the Making Care Primary (MCP) Model, a new voluntary primary care model that will be tested in eight states. The new model aims to improve care management and care coordination, equip primary care clinicians with tools to form partnerships with healthcare specialists, and leverage community-based connections to address patients’ health needs as well as their health-related social needs, such as housing and nutrition. CMS plans to work with eight state Medicaid agencies to engage in full care transformation across payers, with plans to engage private payers in the future. The MCP Model is slated to launch July 1, 2024 in eight participating states – Colorado, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Washington.

The MCP Model is a 10.5-year multi-payer model with three participation tracks that build upon previous primary care models. MCP’s overarching goal is to improve care for beneficiaries by supporting the delivery of advanced primary care services, which are foundation for a high-performing health system. To achieve this goal, the Model will provide a pathway for primary care clinicians with varying levels of experience in value-based care to gradually adopt prospective, population-based payments while building infrastructure to improve behavioral health and specialty integration and drive equitable access to care. The Model also attempts to strengthen coordination between patients’ primary clinicians, specialists, social service providers, and behavioral health clinicians, ultimately leading to chronic disease prevention, fewer emergency room visits, and better health outcomes.

Three domains define the MCP Model’s care delivery approach:

  • Care Management: Participants will build their care management and chronic condition self-management support services, placing an emphasis on managing chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, and reducing unnecessary emergency use and total cost of care.
  • Care Integration: In alignment with CMS strategy, participants will strengthen their connections with specialty care clinicians while using evidence-based behavioral health screening and evaluation to improve patient care and coordination.
  • Community Connection: Participants will identify and address health-related social needs and connect patients to community supports and services.

Each of these three domains has specific care delivery requirements for participating organizations in each of the three participation tracks. Additionally, there are certain eligibility requirements in order to apply to participate in the MCP Model. Certain providers and organizations will not be eligible for MCP. CMS has indicated that it will provide further details about state-specific eligibility criteria for applicants in the Request for Applications (RFA).

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