On March 15, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (federal CMS) released the Request for Applications (RFA) for Cohort 2 of the Primary Care First (PCF) Model. The PCF Model tests whether the way Medicare pays for advanced primary care -- shifting from a fee-for-service to a value-based payment approach -- can positively affect quality of care and reduce total Medicare expenditures. Primary care practices in eligible regions are encouraged to apply. The deadline for practice applications is April 30, 2021.

The PCF Model seeks to improve advanced primary care for physicians and patients alike by tying model payments to health outcomes. What this means for model participants:

  • You have greater independence and can tailor care delivery approaches to meet the special needs of your patients.
  • You have the opportunity to prioritize the doctor-patient relationship.
  • You are supported in offering patients increased access to care, greater engagement in the decision-making process and enhanced care coordination.

Further, participating practices focused on patients with complex chronic needs will receive higher model payments to care for these patient populations.

We know access to primary care is central to a high-functioning health care system and can potentially result in reductions in hospitalizations. The importance of primary care practices has become even more evident during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. Primary care physicians can play an integral role in ensuring patients don’t get lost in a complicated system. Participating in the PCF model, in turn, gives practices more flexibility to care for their patients.

PCF Cohort 2 will have five performance years and is scheduled to begin in January 2022. You can access the RFA, practice application, and more information on the PCF Model on the federal CMS Primary Care First website.

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