According to an announcement this week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has extended its 5-year Physician Group Practice (PGP) Payment Demonstration program by another two years.  The extension period commenced on January 1, 2011.

Under the Demonstration program, ten (10) physician group practices had the ability to earn incentive payments based on the quality of care they provided over an established minimum benchmark for each of the quality measures.  All ten groups will participate in the extension. 

The Demonstration participants were successful in the initial 5-year period at meeting most of the quality benchmarks and, according to the announcement, CMS paid $110 million in incentives to seven of the Demonstration participants and four of the groups are to receive incentive $29.4 million of total savings to Medicare of $36.2 million.

CMS has used and intends to continue to use data from the Demonstration project to further shape policy regarding shared savings and Accountable Care Organization (ACO) payment models currently under development.