In 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published the Quality Strategy that details its goals related to improving the quality of healthcare delivery. However, primary care physicians have found many of the new CMS quality measurements and requirements, established as a result of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015, to be quite restrictive.
The Quality Strategy mentions preventative care specifically in that one of the CMS goals is to enable more patients to have better access to quality care, particularly those patients with chronic illnesses. How can independent physicians successfully manage the need for their patients to have access to preventative care and the need for their practice to fully participate and receive CMS reimbursements for these services?
Focus on the patient’s well-being. Know that preventative services are proven to be effective, as the Quality Strategy points out, in managing chronic diseases and in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Obviously, the sooner a condition is diagnosed and treated, the higher quality the outcomes will be for the patient.
Engage the entire team in the patient’s preventative care. As reported in a recent issue of Health Data Management, “support staff can own most of the legwork like the HRA, patient history, screenings and assessing for preventive services, to reduce the amount of physician time needed.”
Take advantage of technology. Using the features of an electronic health record (EHR) system can greatly enhance the quality of care provided to the patient as well as the efficiency with which the independent practice operates. In fact, one of the CMS Quality Strategy foundational principles is to “use health IT (e.g., EHR and data management systems) to support the integration of clinical preventive services and community-based prevention strategies.”
Involve patients in their own care. Empowering patients through communication and education can have a significant impact on the success of their preventative care in terms of healthcare outcomes. As the article in Health Data Management points out, “physicians can use the visits to help patients understand their own role in the management of their health.”