By Blair Childs, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs
The Premier healthcare alliance welcomes the bicameral, bipartisan Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The package contains many of the policies and funding for healthcare providers advocated by Premier.
Premier strongly supports the temporary freeze of the alternative payment model (APM) payment incentive thresholds as well as providing funding for and directing HHS to modernize the fragmented, cumbersome and ineffectual public health data infrastructure. Freezing for two years the MACRA APM thresholds sends a clear message of Congressional support for the movement to APMs, which have proved instrumental in equipping healthcare providers to combat the pandemic. A modernized public health infrastructure will help America manage through a future pandemic as well as any public health risk.
We also applaud Congress for advancing a solution that protects patients from surprise medical bills through an arbitration process. While no compromise will fully address all parties’ concerns, we are pleased that the bill avoids a rate-setting approach that would have undermined the movement to value.
Premier also supports the three-month hold on sequestration cuts, and changes to the Provider Relief Fund reporting requirements, which will help alleviate the financial stress caused by the unparalleled strain on hospitals and other healthcare providers. While we are thankful for the $3 billion added to the Provider Relief Fund, we are hopeful that lawmakers will act in the next Congress to provide additional relief to providers.
Premier urges Congress to quickly pass the package, which is vital to ending this pandemic and innovating care for the future. We also look forward to continuing to work alongside Congress to implement Premier’s recommendations to improve our nation’s preparedness and strengthen the healthcare supply chain to respond to the next pandemic.