Thank You for Voicing Your Comments on Healthcare Quality and Equity

Congress’s enactment of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) last year repealed Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) in favor of a new Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) intended to increase quality of care across the United States. The law was designed to shift how health care providers are paid from a volume-based payment system to a value-based system. While well-intentioned, this push raises several concerns especially as states begin to also adopt and promote similar policies with their Medicaid programs. Most notably that providers with higher quality scores tend to also have higher disparities in care among racial and ethnic minorities and other vulnerable populations.


On May 9, 2016 CMS released its much anticipated proposed rule to implement MACRA and gave stakeholders until June 27, 2016 to submit public comments. The HELEN team reviewed and analyzed the proposed rule to determine its potential impacts on health disparities, health equity, the underserved, and other vulnerable populations. Our findings were used to draft public comments to inform the final rule so that we could meaningfully address disparities, advance equity, improve quality, and support our critical safety net providers.


As diverse champions and stakeholders of the health equity movement throughout the country, we asked to hear from you! We wanted to know if you had specific concerns with the rule; if there were provisions you believed should be strengthened; and if you felt provisions might jeopardize vulnerable populations. You and your organizations responded with your review of the proposed rule, and we incorporated many of your thoughts into our public comments.


The comments were submitted by HELEN, and made available as a template for you and your organizations to customize and submit independently. The comments were officially submitted to CMS on June 27, 2016. You may view them at http://www.regulations.gov/document?D=CMS-2016-0060-3028.


Thank you again for your input.


-The HELEN Team