Longitudinal participation in delivery and payment reform programs among US Primary Care Organizations

Health Serv Res. 2022 Feb;57(1):47-55. doi: 10.1111/1475-6773.13646. Epub 2021 Feb 28.


Objective: To assess longitudinal primary care organization participation patterns in large-scale reform programs and identify organizational characteristics associated with multiprogram participation.

Data sources: Secondary data analysis of national program participation data over an eight-year period (2009-2016).

Study design: We conducted a retrospective, observational study by creating a unique set of data linkages (including Medicare and Medicaid Meaningful Use and Medicare Shared Savings Program Accountable Care Organization (MSSP ACO) participation from CMS, Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) participation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance, and organizational characteristics) to measure longitudinal participation and identify what types of organizations participate in one or more of these reform programs. We used multivariate models to identify organizational characteristics that differentiate those that participate in none, one, or two-to-three programs.

Data extraction methods: We used Medicare claims to identify organizations that delivered primary care services (n = 56 ,287) and then linked organizations to program participation data and characteristics.

Principal findings: No program achieved more than 50% participation across the 56,287 organizations in a given year, and participation levels flattened or decreased in later years. 36% of organizations did not participate in any program over the eight-year study period; 50% participated in one; 13% in two; and 1% in all three. 14.31% of organizations participated in five or more years of Meaningful Use while 3.84% of organizations participated in five years of the MSSP ACO Program and 0.64% participated in at least five years of PCMH. Larger organizations, those with younger providers, those with more primary care providers, and those with larger Medicare patient panels were more likely to participate in more programs.

Conclusions and relevance: Primary care transformation via use of voluntary programs, each with their own participation requirements and approach to incentives, has failed to broadly engage primary care organizations. Those that have chosen to participate in multiple programs are likely those already providing high-quality care.

Keywords: health care reform; national health policy; primary care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Accountable Care Organizations / statistics & numerical data*
  • Benchmarking / statistics & numerical data
  • Cost Savings
  • Efficiency, Organizational / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Medicare / organization & administration*
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Quality of Health Care
  • United States