Proposed Statement of Antitrust Enforcement Policy Regarding Accountable Care Organizations Participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program, FTC Matter No: V100017 #00060 

Submission Number:
00060 
Commenter:
Jay Chowdappa
State:
Florida
Initiative Name:
Proposed Statement of Antitrust Enforcement Policy Regarding Accountable Care Organizations Participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program, FTC Matter No: V100017

May 31, 2011 Subject Category: Proposed Statement of Antitrust Enforcement Policy Regarding Accountable Care Organizations Participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program, FTC Matter No: V100017 I’m an independent Primary Care Physician in Tampa Bay, FL. I’m also the Secretary of the Pasco county Medical Society and the past president of Florida Association of Physicians of India Origin. For the first time in my career for past 20 years, I’m excited with the new healthcare initiatives being proposed which is primary care centric. Ever since these were announced in March 2010, I have been spearheading a challenge to virtually integrate independent Primary physicians in Tampa Bay to take these initiatives forward and play a part in improving the healthcare delivery. Towards this end we have held several educational sessions, focused group meetings with the area Primary physicians, had several meetings with Healthcare consultants, healthcare IT companies and Healthcare attorneys. Since most of the Physicians work in solo to small practices “they should be placed first” in developing and leading the ACOs resulting in improving the quality and reducing the costs, ultimately in savings to CMS. Physician leadership outside of a hospital is necessary as the ACO savings in many cases, are expected to result from reduced inpatient admissions. Hence, we request FTC/ DOJ approval to allow all physicians who wish to do so to form ACOs by reducing the set-up and operating costs for antitrust compliance and implementing clinical integration rules. We strongly urge raising the safety zone threshold from 30 percent to 40 percent and the mandatory review threshold from 50 percent to 60 percent. We also recommend permitting ACOs to exceed these thresholds if they face competition in their markets. It is very important for the ACOs to be successful that the antitrust rules create a level playing field that does not favor hospitals over physician-led ACOs.