Primary Care First is a set of voluntary five-year payment model options that reward value and quality by offering innovative payment model structures to support delivery of advanced primary care. In response to input from primary care clinician stakeholders, Primary Care First is based on the underlying principles of the existing CPC+ model design: prioritizing the doctor-patient relationship; enhancing care for patients with complex chronic needs and high need, seriously ill patients, reducing administrative burden, and focusing financial rewards on improved health outcomes.
Why develop a new model based on the underlying principles of the CPC+ model?
Primary care is central to a high-functioning healthcare system and thus, there is an urgent need to preserve and strengthen primary care as well as a need for support of serious illness care services for Medicare beneficiaries.
Primary Care First addresses these needs by creating a seamless continuum of care and accommodates a continuum of interested providers. The payment options test whether delivery of advanced primary care can reduce total cost of care, accommodating practices at multiple stages of readiness to assume accountability for patient outcomes. Primary Care First will focus on advanced primary care practices ready to assume financial risk in exchange for reduced administrative burdens and performance-based payments.
Thorough a second payment model option, Primary Care First also encourages advanced primary care practices, including providers whose clinicians are enrolled in Medicare who typically provide hospice or palliative care services, to take responsibility for high need, seriously ill beneficiaries who currently lack a primary care practitioner and/or effective care coordination—population groups referred to under the model as the Seriously Ill Population or SIP.
How does Primary Care First transform the health care system?
Primary Care First reflects a regionally-based, multi-payer approach to care delivery and payment. Primary Care First fosters practitioner independence by increasing flexibility for primary care, providing participating practitioners with the freedom to innovate their care delivery approach based on their unique patient population and resources. Primary Care First rewards participants with additional revenue for taking on limited risk based on easily understood, actionable outcomes.
What are the model’s goals and how will the model achieve these goals?
Primary Care First aims to improve quality, improve patient experience of care, and reduce expenditures. The model will achieve these aims by increasing patient access to advanced primary care services, and has elements specifically designed to support practices caring for patients with complex chronic needs or serious illness. The specific approaches to care delivery will be determined by practice priorities. Practices will be incentivized to deliver patient-centered care that reduces acute hospital utilization. Primary Care First is oriented around comprehensive primary care functions: (1) access and continuity; (2) care management; (3) comprehensiveness and coordination; (4) patient and caregiver engagement; and (5) planned care and population health.
Primary Care First aims to be transparent, simple, and hold practitioners accountable by:
- Providing payment to practices through a simple payment structure, including:
- a payment mechanism that allows care to be driven by clinicians rather than administrative requirements and revenue cycle management;
- a population-based payment to provide more flexibility in the provision of patient care along with a flat primary care visit fee; and
- a performance based adjustment providing an upside of up to 50% of revenue as well as a small downside (10% of revenue) incentive to reduce costs and improve quality, assessed and paid quarterly.
- Providing practice participants with performance transparency, through practitioner-identifiable information on their own and other practice participants’ performance to enable and motivate continuous improvement.
Primary Care First provides the tools and incentives for practices to provide comprehensive and continuous care, with a goal of reducing patients’ complications and overutilization of higher cost settings, leading to higher quality of care and reduced spending.
How will beneficiaries and their families benefit from Primary Care First?
Primary Care First prioritizes patients by emphasizing the doctor-patient relationship. The model aims to improve the experience for beneficiaries by reducing administrative burdens so practitioners can spend more time with patients. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will prioritize patient choice in the assignment of Medicare beneficiaries to Primary Care First practices. Read the full press release