Statement from Dr. Ann Hwang, Physician and Director of the Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation on CMS’s final MACRA rule

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MEDIA CONTACT

Jack Cardinal

(617) 275-2923/(781) 960-5208

jcardinal@communitycatalyst.org

(BOSTON) – “While we applaud CMS for continuing to be proactive in redesigning our health care system to increase both value and quality, the perspective missing in the final rule is the most important one: that of the consumer.

“As a physician, I ask myself what impact these changes will have on my patients. Are they prepared for the changes that MACRA and other payment and delivery system reforms might have on their care? And ultimately, will MACRA make the health care system more responsive to their needs and help them stay healthier?

“Unfortunately, when seen from the perspective of the consumer, the final rule falls short. For one thing, it lacks adequate opportunities for meaningful consumer engagement. For instance, CMS bypassed measures that would have ensured robust patient engagement in advanced alternative payment models and is requiring practices to complete even fewer beneficiary-engagement improvement activities.

“Additionally, in our initial review we found that only 15 of the 271 quality measures are patient reported. This sidelines one of the most important - if not the most important - voice in the room. If the quality of care within our health system is to improve, people must have a larger say in how quality is defined.

“As an organization dedicated to amplifying consumers and their voices in the changing health care landscape, we look forward to continuing to work with CMS on MACRA’s implementation to ensure our new health systems work better for everyone.”

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About Dr. Hwang

As Director, Dr. Hwang leads the Center in its mission of bringing the consumer experience to the forefront of health system transformation efforts. She brings to the Center her experience as the Director of Health Care Policy and Strategy for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, where she played a leading role in the implementation of the state’s major health care initiatives, including the Affordable Care Act, payment and delivery system reform and the Commonwealth's State Innovation Model grant. She continues to engage in health policy education, as a Visiting Fellow in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School. Ann has also served as a Senior Health Policy Advisor to the Massachusetts Health Connector, advised states on ACA implementation as a Senior Consultant with the Wakely Consulting Group and worked on HIV and global health issues as a legislative aide to U.S. Senator Richard J. Durbin (D-IL).

Dr. Hwang is also a primary care physician, focusing on the care of patients with complex needs. She received her medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco, and completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

About the Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation

The Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation at Community Catalyst is a hub devoted to teaching, learning and sharing knowledge to bring the consumer experience to the forefront of health innovation in order to deliver better care, better value and better health for every community, particularly vulnerable and historically underserved populations. The Center’s work is supported through investments in state and local advocacy, leadership development, research and evaluation, and consultative services to delivery systems and health plans. Visit healthinnovation.org or follow us on Twitter @CCEHI to learn more and follow our work.