How Are We Doing? Payers Talk About Progress in Multi-Payer Reform to Improve Primary Care

July 21, 2015

There’s nothing better than sitting down and talking face-to-face with others involved in the same work as you. That’s what happened in June, when the Fund hosted ameeting in Washington, DC, that brought together leaders from CMS’s Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (the Innovation Center) with a variety of payers involved in the Comprehensive Primary Care (CPC) initiative, designed to strengthen primary care. The participants included Medicare, Medicaid and private national and local payers from around the country who are participating in the CPC initiative. The goal of the meeting, which included about 30 people, was to share information, observations, and outcomes to date. The event was a follow-up to CMS’s meeting earlier this year also convened by the Fund in which CMS shared its first-year results from the CPC initiative.

The June meeting gave payers an opportunity to report on the progress they’re making—how the changes they are implementing impact patients, standards, or the practices themselves. “This was a broader sharing of information than at the first meeting,” explains Lisa Dulsky Watkins, director of the Fund’s Multi-State Collaborative, which includes all the states involved in the CPC initiative. “Participants, representing half a dozen plans, spoke about aspects of multi-payer alignment that are working—and the impact these reforms are having in primary care. We had an open and candid discussion with national leaders about what the future of multi-payer reform might look like.”

The Fund is known for giving policymakers an opportunity to have an open exchange. “It’s unusual to bring payers together into the same room to compare notes—and also to bring in the Innovation Center,” says Watkins, who notes that some of the large payers don’t yet have results available, while smaller payers are showing cost savings and quality improvement.

The CMS Innovation Center benefits too. “During this face-to-face meeting, the conversation really got started,” says Dulsky Watkins. “The CPC initiative is a big experiment, and has the potential to be the basis for sustainable health system delivery reform. We will learn valuable lessons from each others’ experience and expertise. It’s an incredible opportunity for everyone.”

A future meeting with more invited CPC-participating payers attending and sharing results is being planned.


(The Multi-State Collaborative was recently the subject of an article in the Rocky Mountain Health Plans Issue Brief. If you missed the Issue Brief, you can read it here.)