HHS Secretary Nominee Alex Azar Favors Moving Away from Fee-for-Service, Mandatory Testing of New Value-Based Physician Payment Models

Appearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday, Alex Azar, President Trump's nominee to replace Tom Price, MD, as Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary, testified that he supports mandatory testing of new payment models for providers as part of a push to pay physicians based on the value, rather than volume, of care they provide to their patients. Last fall, under then-HHS Secretary Price, CMS rolled back three Obama-era mandatory payment programs due to the reporting burden they imposed on physicians and hospitals.

Mr. Azar argued that voluntary participation cannot be relied on to obtain sufficient data collection in testing the effectiveness of new payment models, such as the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). “If to test a hypothesis around changing our healthcare system it needs to be mandatory as opposed to voluntary to get adequate data, then so be it,” he said.

If the Senate Finance Committee votes in favor of Mr. Azar, his nomination will move to the full Senate for consideration. We will keep you updated.