Transformation! Helping Healthcare Practitioners Recapture the Joy of Their Work

The Northern New England Practice Transformation Network

Project Summary

Clinicians strive to provide the best possible care for their patients while running practices that are operationally and financially effective, and fulfilling for staff. However, increasing expectations around costs, value, and provision of service can result in uncertainty, frustrations, and stress. To thrive in this changing healthcare landscape, clinicians need support to configure their practices effectively while navigating the many new federal requirements.

The Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPI) is a new effort from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to help ensure practices will be ready to participate in the new value-based payment models defined in the Medicare Access and Chip Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). The initiative, funded nationally at $840 million over four years, supports both primary care and specialty practices, with a focus on those serving small, rural, or underserved populations.

The work of TCPI is conducted by Practice Transformation Networks (PTNs) and Support and Alignment Networks (SANs). PTNs work directly with practices to support their transformation and SANs are formed by professional associations that work to support both the PTNs and practices directly.

VPQHC is working with Maine Quality Counts and the University of New Hampshire/ Citizens Health Initiative in the NNE-PTN. The NNE-PTN’s recruitment target is 505 practices over four years, which will include over 1,600 clinicians. In order to participate, a practice must:

  • participate in a baseline practice assessment
  • participate in the PTN Learning Collaborative
  • network with peers, share learnings, and best practices
  • work with PTN staff to submit clinical quality measures through Physician's Quality Reporting System (PQRS) solutions
  • work with PTN staff to identify and submit other data as required by CMS

Practices participating in the NNE-PTN will realize many benefits, including: stronger relationships and operating processes with their referral bases, improved communication with primary care (particularly with regard to the referral process), improved efficiency of specialty visits, expanded networking opportunities, avoidance of upcoming CMS payment penalties, and possibly earning additional funds rewarding value-based performance under the new Merit based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) from CMS.

Recommendations and Next Steps

VPQHC will continue to recruit eligible providers for participation in the NNE-PTN. We are also exploring opportunities identified in the unified clinician database, including targeting specific vertical markets such as Dentists, Chiropractors, Clinical Psychologists, and many other specialty practices. We will continue to take a leadership role in the
NNE-PTN and contribute significantly to the success of the TCPI program.