UAMS Family Medical Centers, Clinics Participating in Public-Private Partnership to Strengthen Primary Care

By Ben Boulden

Called Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+), the partnership is designed to provide access to quality health care at lower costs and will provide primary care practices with additional payment to improve coordination of care. CPC+ is administered by the federal Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMS Innovation Center).

For patients, this means that physicians may offer longer and more flexible hours, use electronic health records, coordinate care with patients’ other health care providers, better engage patients and caregivers in managing their own care, and provide enhanced care for patients living with multiple chronic diseases.

The five UAMS Family Medical Centers are part of UAMS Regional Programs: UAMS Northeast in Jonesboro, UAMS Northwest in Fayetteville and Springdale, UAMS Southwest in Texarkana and UAMS West in Fort Smith. The four UAMS clinics in Little Rock are UAMS Family Medical Center, UAMS Internal Medicine Clinics, the Thomas & Lyon Longevity Clinic and Neighborhood Clinic at Rahling Road.

“The Regional Program clinics that had previously participated in the CPCI Program, the predecessor initiative to CPC+, have positioned Regional Programs to be both successful and transformational in this new payer/provider partnership. We’re unique from the standpoint that we’re teaching clinics, and look forward to preparing the next generation of team-based providers in this innovative program.” said Tim Hill, vice chancellor for Regional Programs.

The predecessor initiative — Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative (CPCI) — began in 2012 and included 500 clinics in eight states.

“To have more UAMS clinics and the regional centers included in this expansion shows that UAMS as a whole is engaging in the best, most innovative practices in clinical care that this new, larger partnership is designed to promote,” said Charles Smith, M.D., director of UAMS Primary Care Services.

Payers in the national partnership include the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), state Medicaid agencies, commercial health plans and self-insured businesses.

“A robust primary care system is essential to achieve better care, smarter spending, and healthier people,” said Patrick Conway, acting CMS administrator. “For this reason, CMS is committed to supporting primary care clinicians to deliver the best, most comprehensive primary care possible for their patients.”

Through CPC+, CMS will pay primary care practices a care management fee, initially set at an average of $15 per patient per month in Track 1, and $28 per patient per month in Track 2, to support enhanced, coordinated services on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries. Simultaneously, participating commercial, state and other federal insurance plans are also offering enhanced payment to primary care practices.

In addition, a monthly incentive payment amount ($2.50 or $4.00) is included if high-quality outcomes are achieved. And, finally, traditional Medicare fee-for-service payments are included. The sum of these three payments serves to substantially increase the reimbursement for these team-based, primary care services.

The five-year model started on Jan. 1 with CMS recruiting a diverse pool of commercial health plans, state Medicaid agencies, and self-insured businesses to work alongside Medicare to support comprehensive primary care. In addition to Arkansas, public and private health plans in 14 regions nationwide from New Jersey to Hawaii will participate in this model.

Eligible primary care practices in each market were invited to apply to participate in the winter of 2016. Through a competitive application process, CMS selected primary care practices within the selected markets to participate in CPC+. Among the criteria used in choosing practices for the partnership were their use of health information technology, participation in practice transformation and improvement activities and diversity of geography, practice size and ownership structure.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a northwest Arkansas regional campus; a statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 2,870 students, 799 medical residents and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,000 physicians and other professionals who provide care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS regional centers throughout the state. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.