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Amid ACA Uncertainty, Value-based Care Will Survive


No one can accurately predict what will happen with the ACA, but that doesn't mean physicians can't chart a path forward.

Welcome to the latest edition of the Physicians Practice Pearls podcast. In this podcast, we'll bring you some of the most interesting and influential guests in healthcare. If you have any ideas for podcast guests or topics, email us at editor@physicianspractice.com.

In the ever-changing world of health policy, physician practices must move forward with value-based care as a strategic focal point. That was the wisdom of Ingrid Lund, PhD, practice manager for the physician practice roundtable at Washington D.C.-based research company, The Advisory Board Company, on this week's Physicians Practice Pearls podcast.

Lund was joined by her colleague Eric Cragun, senior director for health policy at Advisory Board, to discuss the GOP's ongoing efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how practices can map their future without knowing what will happen with sweeping health policy legislation. "Certainly whatever the GOP does, whatever their next move on healthcare reform is, it will impact providers in some way, but I think we can agree there are some safer bets and ways to move strategy forward even though we're in this point of uncertainty," Lund said.

In particular, Lund said that "value-based care is here to stay" and the bi-partisan Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) isn't going anywhere. She advised practices to continue to prepare for this major shift and respond to the strategic implications of MACRA, including the push toward risk-based payment models. Another "safe bet," according to Lund, is to "double down on your consumerism strategy" thanks to the rise of health savings ac

counts and high-deductible health plans.

"Thinking about strategies to improve patient loyalty is absolutely a good bet. Think about how patients find you in the first place - your website or other means, how easily they can get in for an appointment, how accessible you are, and … what that actual experience is like," Lund said.

Earlier in the podcast, Cragun talked about lessons learned from the Republicans' failure to pass the American Health Care Act. "It became pretty obvious that Republicans are not a monolith on health care issues. They may agree at a general level in the opposition to the ACA, but they differ on the specifics on how to [replace it]," he said.

Another lesson, Cragun offered, is that while the ACA as a whole may not be the most popular piece of legislation, there are certain individual policies that have support - such as the Medicaid expansion. "To keep those in place requires possibly keeping less popular parts of the ACA," he said. "It's in those tradeoffs where there is some political risks for Republicans."

At the end of the podcast, Cragun and Lund both offered their opinion on areas of potential health policy that could have a positive effect on physician practices.

Click above to play the entire podcast.

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