NAACOS Spring 2021 Recap (And a Little About Bootcamp)

I honestly can’t believe we’re almost halfway through the year, and we’ve had, now, two more NAACOS virtual conferences thus far. The first Bootcamp, and NAACOS Spring 2021 of which Salient Healthcare was a part of.


Bootcamp is always an enjoyable deeper dive into value-based care best practices. Our own Amy Kotch and Maria Nikol joined Rob Mechanic and Jennifer Perloff from the Institude of Accountable Care in presenting “How to Leverage Data to Promote Continuous Process Improvement” in late January. As value-based care continues to evolve, much of the healthcare community is realizing that without the proper data, they just won’t be prepared to take on risk. The reality is that the well-received seminar perfectly set-up Amy and Maria’s presentation for NAACOS Spring 2021 at the end of April. If you’re interested in looking at the slide deck, simply click on the presentation title above.


In late April, Amy and Maria teamed up again, but this time to present “Diving Deeper Into Financial and Utilization Impacts: An ACO Cohort Study of COVID-19 Episodes.” It was one of many great seminars presented by NAACOS, but I would be remiss not to praise our team’s deep look at how COVID-19 affected many of our clients here at Salient Healthcare. We were able to evaluate pre and post-pandemic impacts on the total cost of care, acute care, post-acute care, telehealth utilization, and preventive services in relation to quality metrics. Salient Healthcare was also able to review the CMS policy changes, and the impacts of these policy changes, on provider organization with regards to future performance. Finally, the team discussed shared savings distributions, preparing for life after the pandemic, and planning to move to risk. While I found it very informative, you don’t have to take my word for it. Simply click the title above to watch the recorded session on our YouTube channel.

Now enough “me, me, me” talk, and let me touch on a few other great seminars. The opening plenary is always a treat, and this Spring we had Liz Fowler, Director of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation at CMS. Through her entire presentation, one of the areas that I thought she really hit on was that, “we need to do better with multi-payer alignment.” Right now there are so many different contracts with different rules and regulations that it makes it really difficult on Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), Direct Contracting Entities (DCEs), and Clinically Integrated Networks (CINs) to actually succeed at value-based care. It’s hard to believe we’re still less than 10 years from the start of the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), which means technically we’re still on the ground floor. There are growing pains associated with that, but the speed at which healthcare is evolving is making it challenging to learn on the fly as many provider organizations are doing.

That thought kind of leads into what Dr. Mark McClellan, Director of the Duke Margolis Center for Health Policy, spoke about in his seminar, titled “Value-Based Care’s Future Post COVID.” Dr. McClellan is always a worthwhile listen, and he stated that it’s important that we don’t “lose sight of the long-term reform goals. We need a shared commitment in order to succeed.” What it comes down to is that the ever-evolving world of value-based care is causing a lot of people to look for short-term gains. As mentioned, we’re not even 10 years in, and we need to keep our eyes on the horizon. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

I also appreciated Jennifer Moore, Jeanette Flood, Mark Schario, and Bob Trinh’s discussion titled, “Reach for the Stars: Driving Success in Medicare Advantage Agreements.” This presentation was a collaboration between Maine Health ACO, Delaware Valley ACO, University Hospitals, and The Villages Health. This was arguably one of the best presentations that I’ve heard at NAACOS. The group discussed all of the challenges they’ve faced and/or overcome as they, like many provider organizations, have begun to take on more Medicare Advantage contracts and other value based commercial contracts. They provided real, tangible considerations that an organization should consider when engaging with commercial payers in contract negotiations. My main takeaway from the seminar is that, “Ingesting payer data, finding outliers and trends, and having ad-hoc capabilities are keys to driving success when contracting with MA plans.” We are hearing similar themes across other population health conferences—increased need for a performance management solution that can handle multi-payer contracts. I highly recommend downloading the slides to use as a checklist of items to negotiate.

The Salient team thoroughly enjoyed NAACOS Spring 2021. It was a worthwhile two weeks of virtual learning, and we look forward to NAACOS Fall 2021 in Washington, DC where I’m told this time it’s finally in-person! Virtual conferences have their positive points, but nothing replaces the in-person environment. Sharing knowledge is a key piece of every conference, however, I would argue that when the networking component is lost (which frequently happens in a virtual environment) you’re only receiving a fraction of the value of the event. Whether you’re a provider organization or a business partner, it’s important to get to know the others in our industry because relationships absolutely matter in healthcare. On that note, I look forward to getting to know some of you, and reconnecting with everyone else, in the near future.

Ryan Mackman

About the Author

Ryan Mackman, MBA, MHA - Business Consultant

Ryan Mackman has been an ACO business consultant team member with Salient since March 2018. In this role, he acts as a solution trainer, marketing and sales consultant, as well as Value Based Payment strategist. His skillset helps augment Salient’s efforts at the ACO and physician practice level.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *