42 CFR § 425.112 - Required processes and patient-centeredness criteria.

§ 425.112 Required processes and patient-centeredness criteria.

(a) General.

(1) An ACO must—

(i) Promote evidence-based medicine and beneficiary engagement, internally report on quality and cost metrics, and coordinate care;

(ii) Adopt a focus on patient centeredness that is promoted by the governing body and integrated into practice by leadership and management working with the organization's health care teams; and

(iii) Have defined processes to fulfill these requirements.

(2) An ACO must have a qualified healthcare professional responsible for the ACO's quality assurance and improvement program, which must include the defined processes included in paragraphs (b)(1) through (4) of this section.

(3) For each process specified in paragraphs (b)(1) through (4) of this section, the ACO must—

(i) Require ACO participants and ACO providers/suppliers to comply with and implement each process (and subelement thereof), including the remedial processes and penalties (including the potential for expulsion) applicable to ACO participants and ACO providers/suppliers for failure to comply with and implement the required process; and

(ii) Employ its internal assessments of cost and quality of care to improve continuously the ACO's care practices.

(b) Required processes. The ACO must define, establish, implement, evaluate, and periodically update processes to accomplish the following:

(1) Promote evidence-based medicine. These processes must cover diagnoses with significant potential for the ACO to achieve quality improvements taking into account the circumstances of individual beneficiaries.

(2) Promote patient engagement. These processes must address the following areas:

(i) Compliance with patient experience of care survey requirements in § 425.500 or § 425.510, as applicable.

(ii) Compliance with beneficiary representative requirements in § 425.106.

(iii) A process for evaluating the health needs of the ACO's population, including consideration of diversity in its patient populations, and a plan to address the needs of its population.

(A) In its plan to address the needs of its population, the ACO must describe how it intends to partner with community stakeholders to improve the health of its population.

(B) An ACO that has a stakeholder organization serving on its governing body will be deemed to have satisfied the requirement to partner with community stakeholders.

(iv) Communication of clinical knowledge/evidence-based medicine to beneficiaries in a way that is understandable to them.

(v) Beneficiary engagement and shared decision-making that takes into account the beneficiaries' unique needs, preferences, values, and priorities;

(vi) Written standards in place for beneficiary access and communication, and a process in place for beneficiaries to access their medical record.

(3) Develop an infrastructure for its ACO participants and ACO providers/suppliers to internally report on quality and cost metrics that enables the ACO to monitor, provide feedback, and evaluate its ACO participants and ACO provider(s)/supplier(s) performance and to use these results to improve care over time.

(4) Coordinate care across and among primary care physicians, specialists, and acute and post-acute providers and suppliers. The ACO must—

(i) Define its methods and processes established to coordinate care throughout an episode of care and during its transitions, such as discharge from a hospital or transfer of care from a primary care physician to a specialist (both inside and outside the ACO); and

(ii) Have a written plan to:

(A) Implement an individualized care program that promotes improved outcomes for, at a minimum, the ACO's high-risk and multiple chronic condition patients.

(B) Identify additional target populations that would benefit from individualized care plans. Individualized care plans must take into account the community resources available to the individual.

(C) Encourage and promote use of enabling technologies for improving care coordination for beneficiaries. Enabling technologies may include one or more of the following:

(1) Electronic health records and other health IT tools.

(2) Telehealth services, including remote patient monitoring.

(3) Electronic exchange of health information.

(4) Other electronic tools to engage beneficiaries in their care.

(D) Partner with long-term and post-acute care providers, both inside and outside the ACO, to improve care coordination for its assigned beneficiaries.

[76 FR 67973, Nov. 2, 2011, as amended at 80 FR 32835, June 9, 2015; 82 FR 53368, Nov. 15, 2017; 85 FR 85038, Dec. 28, 2020]