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Happy New Year! Here's What We're Up To...

by: 
Barbara Merrill, Esq.

Barbara Merrill, ANCOR CEOHappy New Year! I hope you emerged from the holiday season refreshed and ready to tackle new initiatives, embrace new opportunities and, yes, sufficiently rested to respond to the new challenges each new year inevitably brings!

In that spirit, I’m delighted to present the first in a series of new work we have to offer you in the new year by releasing ANCOR’s latest white paper, Advancing Value & Quality in Medicaid Service Delivery for Individuals with I/DD! In the past couple years, ANCOR has developed several white papers on topics of critical import to our membership, and we've heard that you want your national association to be creating more of these valuable resources. Well, we've listened, and Advancing Value & Quality builds on the success of ANCOR’s previous white papers (including 2018's most downloaded white paper, Managed Long Term Supports and Services for People with I/DD, and 2017's most downloaded white paper, Addressing the Disability Services Workforce Crisis of the 21st Century).

Written by ANCOR’s consultant and former CMS Director of Medicaid Vikki Wachino and health expert Molly O’Malley Watts, working at the direction of ANCOR’s Alternate Payment Model Workgroup, Advancing Value & Quality is the first of its kind in our industry — informed by in-depth discussions with leading experts but produced by and for providers of services for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Why are we doing this? To quote ANCOR President Robert Budd, ANCOR invested in a white paper on Alternative Payment Models (APM) “to make certain that ANCOR and our members will be in the middle of every discussion that will have a profound effect on our collective success.”

Frankly, there's a lot of hype out there about Value-Based Purchasing (VBP), and as you'll see when you browse the white paper, the term "Alternate Payment Models" encompasses all of it—including managed care. Value-Based Purchasing is indeed the new buzzword. but is there any "there, there" in the I/DD space? This paper answers that question, defines the value proposition for providers, and offers 14 payment reform principles and 13 recommendations. 

As valuable as I think you'll find this resource, I can promise you that this is just the beginning of a series of resources we'll be bringing you on this topic over the course of the year. Our 2019 Annual Conference, Building Bridges to Better Outcomes (to take place May 6-8 on the banks of the beautiful Willamette River in Portland, OR), will provide multiple opportunities for you to build your fluency and expertise in the hottest trend we’ve seen in years in our space, incuding with a pre-conference session, a keynote address and multiuple breakout sessions specifically dedicated to VBP. This focus at the conference won't just be theoretical; as you'll read in the white paper and as you'll hear firsthand in Portland from ANCOR members, participants in the ACL Business Acumen learning collaboratives and industry partners across the country, important work is being done when it comes to VBP.

APMs and VBP open the door to further risk and disruption, but also potentially extraordinary opportunity to advance quality. Our goal with this paper is to demystify this important discussion, and provide ANCOR members with the basics you need to know to begin assessing potential opportunities. We're also committed to helping you influence the development of APMs responsibly at the state level.

In short, you'll find this document to the most comprehensive I/DD-specific discussion of this trend to date - far more comprehensive than any other organization has attempted. It builds on the managed care white paper we released last year, and seeks to advance the discussion informed by providers — experts that understand what works, what isn’t working, and how paying for quality as opposed to 15-minute increments of fee-for-service units has the potential to further improve outcomes for the people we are all here to serve.

ANCOR is always only as strong as its members. In this case, the strength of this paper is due to the leadership and vision of the APM Work Group, chaired by BrightSpring Health Services consultant Ken Lovan and PAR President & CEO Mark Davis; we are incredibly grateful for Ken and Mark's leadership. Special thanks are also due to Esme Grewal, Vice President for Government Relations, as this paper would not have been possible without her expertise. Finally, I extend a huge "thank you!" to all of the participants of the APM Work Group, listed below. Your engagement is deeply appreciated!

APM Work Group Members:

  • Mark Davis, PAR (Co-Chair)
  • Ken Lovan, BrightSpring Health Services (Co-Chair)
  • Robert Baker, Keystone Human Services
  • Diane Beastrom, Koinonia Homes, Inc.
  • Terence Blackwell, Chimes
  • Gale Bohling, BrightSpring Health Services
  • Bonnie-Jean Brooks, OHI, Inc.
  • Johnny Callebs, KAPP
  • Beth Caraccio, Merakey
  • Kathy Carmody, Institute on Public Policy for People with Disabilities
  • Terry Collard, Chimes International
  • Ravi Dahiya, YAI
  • Daryn Demeritt, BrightSpring Health Services
  • Dennis Felty, Keystone Human Services
  • Joseph Gannon, Chimes
  • Tine Hansen-Turton, Woods Services
  • Bill Harriger, Verland
  • Deirdre Hunter, Justice Resource Institute
  • Kelly Jepson, BrightSpring Health Services
  • Angela King, Volunteers of America Texas
  • George Liacopoulos, St. John’s Community Services
  • Robert Longo, Beacon Specialized Living
  • Sarah Magazine, The MENTOR Network
  • Cindy Mahan, Friendship Community Care, Inc.
  • Donna Martin, Community Provider Network of Rhode Island
  • Patrick Maynard, Boundless
  • Shannon McCracken, BrightSpring Health Services
  • Dave Toeniskoetter, Dungarvin, Inc.

Barbara Merrill is CEO of ANCOR.