Published: February 23, 2016

What is HCPLAN?

A network connector and idea aggregator, the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network (HCPLAN) advances payment approach alignment across the private and public sectors of the health system

A network connector and idea aggregator, the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network (HCPLAN) advances payment approach alignment across the private and public sectors of the health system

The network accomplishes its goals through an online payment reform community known as “Handshake,” in-person meetings, work groups, and white paper publication.The network accomplishes its goals through an online payment reform community known as “Handshake,” in-person meetings, work groups, and white paper publication.

In 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) set a goal of tying 30 percent of Medicare fee-for-service payments to quality or value through alternative payment models (APM) by 2016 and 50 percent by 2018. HHS has also set a goal of tying 85 percent of all Medicare fee-for-service to quality or value by 2016 and 90 percent by 2018. As a part of this broader effort, HHS and stakeholders launched the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network to advance alternative payment alignment across the private and public sectors of the health system. HCPLAN currently functions as a network connector and idea aggregator. The network accomplishes its goals through an online payment reform community called “Handshake,” in-person meetings, work groups, and white paper publication.

HCPLAN work groups are short-term groups charged with identifying and assessing the following: the main adoption barriers to alternative payment models; which of the main adoption barriers to alternative payment models can be addressed; creating a succinct outline of steps necessary to reach HHS’ goals; and motivating action toward sustainable APM development. Three work groups have been established: the Alternative Payment Model Framework and Progress Tracking Work Group; the Population Based Payment Work Group; and the Clinical Episode Payment Work Group.  While no surgical specialties are represented within the HCPLAN network or work groups, the Academy is closely monitoring the work group activities to review and comment on any proposals that would affect otolaryngologists.

APM Framework White Paper

The first tangible cooperative effort created by the HCPLAN governing body is the Alternative Payment Models Framework White Paper drafted by the APM Framework and Progress Tracking Work Group.

In October 2015, HCPLAN released their draft APM Framework White Paper for comments. After taking into account the comments provided by the Academy and other stakeholders, HCPLAN released the final version of the white paper in January. The APM Framework White Paper outlines a proposed working definition for alternative payment models and provides a rough trajectory for organizations wishing to transition from fee-for-service payments to a complete alternative payment model.

The Academy submitted comments on the draft APM Framework White Paper that reiterate our position that any alternative payment model framework must address the unique payment reform challenges faced by specialty physicians. Although surgical specialties are not currently represented in the established work groups and the APM Framework White Paper, the Academy is advocating on your behalf. We continue to work closely with our partners to ensure that any accepted APM framework will allow the largest possible numbers of physicians to not merely participate, but thrive within the framework’s constraints.

For more information on the future of payment and how payment reform could affect you, please visit the Academy’s payment reform information hub:



More from March 2016 - Vol. 35, No. 02

New task forces focus on education
By Sonya Malekzadeh, MD, AAO-HNSF former Coordinator for Education The AAO-HNS/F has assembled four education task forces to address important issues concerning our Members and the profession. I am honored to be involved in many of these efforts and to serve as chair for two of these groups. The Simulation Task Force was formed in 2011 to define the current state of simulation, to investigate its role and future potential in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, and to provide educational resources for AAO-HNS Members. Under the leadership of Ellen S. Deutsch, MD, the Simulation Task Force has accomplished: Initiation of Simulation Open Forums, at both the Combined Otolaryngology Spring Meetings (COSM) and the AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting & OTO EXPOSM, has brought together like-minded individuals to discuss interests, challenges, and opportunities in simulation. An active ENTConnect community engages simulation Members in ongoing collaboration and exploration. Launch of the SimTube Project, a national initiative for simulation-based educational research with the immediate goal of assessing the usefulness of a low-cost, low-tech simulator in learning myringotomy and tube placement, and the larger goal of establishing an infrastructure that could support multiprogram collaboration for more complex simulation-based educational research in the future. More than 60 U.S. residency programs now participate in the study. Numerous Annual Meeting Miniseminars highlighting current education efforts and advanced technology in simulation while also demonstrating the value of simulation in quality of care and systems improvement. Recognizing the expanding role of simulation in education, research, and quality, the task force has recently submitted an application to become a Foundation committee. This new designation will permit a formal and permanent structure for furthering Member opportunities and engagement. Dr. Deutsch and Gregory J. Wiet, MD, will chair the committee. The Comprehensive Curriculum Task Force stemmed from the 2013 Board of Directors Strategic Planning meeting where Academy leadership acknowledged the need for a core curriculum in otolaryngology. The Otolaryngology Comprehensive Curriculum will serve as a lifelong, continually expanding learning and assessment tool for otolaryngology professionals. The content and structure will meet the needs of students, residents, allied health colleagues, and all practicing physicians engaged in MOC and lifelong learning. The online format will cover the otolaryngology scope of knowledge, provided in various educational formats, to guide and address cognitive and technical skills. The “living” content will be kept current with frequent updates so users can be assured they are participating in a rich and growing educational program. The task force believes this to be an ideal opportunity to unite the specialties around education, reduce duplicative efforts across societies, and to provide a comprehensive education platform for our specialty. A working group comprised of society representatives is finalizing a list of topics and performing an inventory of all existing education content across the specialties. This information will inform the development of future education programming. The Intraoperative Nerve Monitoring Task Force, in existence since fall 2015, will address key issues relevant to facial nerve monitoring during otologic and neuro-otologic surgery. With representation from the American Neurotology Society (ANS) and the American Otological Society (AOS), the task force will focus on: Determining current practice in training and performance of nerve monitoring among Academy Members and Residency Program Directors. Developing education activities that will provide uniform and standardized training for otolaryngologists to safely and successfully perform the procedure. Clarifying the AAO-HNS/F perspective on intraoperative nerve monitoring within the specialty. AAO-HNS President Sujana S. Chandrasekhar, MD, proposed the latest group, Advanced Practice Professionals (APP) Education Task Force. With the growing presence of mid-level providers in otolaryngology practices, it is imperative that we provide our colleagues with proper education and training in our field. These efforts will improve their contributions to our practices and patients while also educating AAO-HNS Members on the benefits of including APPs in the profession. In collaboration with the APP societies, including SPAO-HNS, the task force will design educational programing and provide resources that will allow advanced practice providers and otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons to work synergistically to improve patient care. “I have every confidence that this task force will put together a comprehensive ENT APP curriculum, utilizing many Academy resources. Establishing such an educational outline will really help our Members as they seek to incorporate APPs into their practices” said Dr. Chandrasekhar. Karen T. Pitman, MD, and Peter D. Costantino, MD, will serve as chairs of this new task force. Academy task force Members are working hard on topics critical to the Academy and the profession. “These education task forces really complement the work of the education committees by addressing new and innovative education opportunities for our Members,” said Richard V. Smith, MD, coordinator for Education. If you are interested in more information or contributing to any of these projects please email