Patient-Centered Policy

How Legislation Supports Patient-Centered Care

With 23 percent of the federal budget going to health care, reducing health care costs is a major focus of policy in the U.S. As the nation seeks to reform the health care delivery system, the focus is shifting from episodic care to long-term healing and wellness. Patient-centered care is central to health care reform and policy, as it has been shown to improve quality and outcomes and thus, ultimately reduce costs.

Government and Patient-Centered Care by the Numbers

  • The Affordable Care Act (ACA) mentions patient-centeredness 36 times.
  • The ACA references the medical home model of care delivery, a patient-centered care  model, 15 times.
  • The ACA references quality measures 93 times.
  • The ACA links quality to reporting clinical data 29 times.
  • The ACA discusses value-based reimbursement and payment modifiers as relates to hospital and physician reimbursement and performance on quality measures 100 times.

Federal Policymaking is Grounded in Patient-Centered Care

A slew of recent legislation supports patient-centered care, including:

  • CMS Meaningful Use Stage 2: 7 of 23 core and menu measures in Stage 2 Meaningful Use are directly grounded in patient-centered care.
  • CMS Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs): 7 of 33 performance measures in the final rule governing ACOs directly relate to patient engagement, a cornerstone of patient-centered care.
  • CMS Value-based Purchasing: Regulations for CMS' value-based modifier payment program lay out a plan for implementing differential payment based on quality of care.
  • CMS Public Measure Transparency: This legislation introduces the Physician Compare Website, which encourages quality and transparency. Patient experience scores, along with other quality measures, will be posted to the CMS Hospital Compare and Physician Compare websites so patients can compare quality before selecting a hospital or provider.
  • Other Agency Initiatives: The CMS Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is authorized by Congress to conduct research to provide information about the best available evidence to help patients and their health care providers make more informed decisions. The HRSA Patient-Centered Medical/Health Home Initiative supports and encourages health centers to gain recognition under the medical home program offered in partnership with the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). The Department of Veterans Affairs' Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) also supports tenets of patient-centered care.

Want more information on patient-centered care? Find out what constitutes patient-centered care and how providers can overcome barriers to delivering this type of care.