Congress enacted the Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) Assignment Improvement Act of 2019 to motivate healthcare providers to improve the quality of healthcare services they provide to their clients. The Act ensures there is value for money for federal government funds for service healthcare organizations offers to Medicare beneficiaries. The Act recognizes that it is essential to include nurse practitioners in the program since they play a crucial role in improving healthcare services in the nation.
Description of The Legislation
The ACOs Assignment Improvement Act of 2019 stipulates additional requirements for ACOs while assigning Medicare fees to the beneficiaries of their services. The ACOs can receive payments for savings they have made through care management and coordination. However, the legislation requires the basis for assignment to reflect primary care utilization provided by several ACO practitioners (H.R. 900, 2019). Initially, only the services provided by ACO physicians were recognized in the assignment. The new law seeks to change this clause to include the services provided by nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and clinical nurse specialists.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) recognizes that nurse practitioners are part of the authorized ACO professionals under the MSSP. It was enacted to support innovative healthcare delivery methods at a lower cost (ACA, 2020). The new law provides incentives to motivate healthcare providers to collaborate to offer their patients high-quality healthcare services (Accountable Care Organizations, 2020). Healthcare providers are required to continue lowering the cost of care without compromising the performance standards set for them. Consequently, the legislation ensures that healthcare professionals can work together to improve the quality of the services they provide to patients for their Medicare claims to be accepted. For example, nurse practitioners collaborate with other healthcare professionals in the hospital to meet the set performance standards at a lower cost. The new law recognizes that every healthcare worker plays a vital role in improving the quality of services provided to patients (Accountable Care Organizations, 2019). Such services not only depend on the physicians, but also on all the members of the interdisciplinary team. Each worker must play their role to accomplish the organization’s quality goals to enable their organizations to qualify for financial benefits. Hence, they must share resources and offer coordinated care as required in the new legislation.
Actions Taken by The Organization to Support the Legislation
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) has made tremendous efforts to support the implementation of the ACO Assignment Improvement Act of 2019. Previously, AANP was in the frontline to ensure that nurses were included or recognized in the healthcare reforms of 2010. It advocated for the inclusion of nurses in ACOs assignment, just like physicians and other healthcare professionals. The new law helped to show that the services offered by nurses are important just like that of physicians. AANP plays a vital role in showing that nurses play a crucial role in meeting the country’s health needs. AANP Federal Policy Priorities, 2020). The AANP also urged Congress to eliminate all the barriers that were limiting the services that nurse practitioners could offer to patients.
Nurse practitioners are among healthcare professionals who play a crucial role in the provision of healthcare services. The enactment of additional requirements for ACOs is timely since it recognizes the role nurses play in offering high-quality healthcare services in the country. AANP also plays an essential role in urging Congress to include nurse practitioners in this program due to their unique position in the provision of primary healthcare services. Hence, the inclusion of nurses in the program is necessary to enable the country to achieve its healthcare goals in the future.
AANP Federal Policy Priorities. (2020). AANP. Retrieved from https://www.aanp.org/advocacy/federal/federal-issue-briefs/aanp-federal-policy-priorities
Accountable Care Organizations. (2019). AANP. Retrieved fromhttps://www.nursingworld.org/practice-policy/nursing-excellence/official-position-statements/accountable-care-organizations/
Accountable Care Organizations. (2020). AANP. Retrieved from https://www.aanp.org/advocacy/federal/federal-issue-briefs/accountable-care-organizations
Affordable Care Act. (ACA) (2020). Healthcare.Gov. Retrieved from https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/affordable-care-act/
H.R. 900: ACO Assignment Improvement Act of 2019. (2019). The U.S. Congress. Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/900