Official cancellation of bundled payment models opens the door for a different approach to health system change

On Thursday, following a proposed rule published in August, CMS finalized the cancellation of the mandatory hip fracture and cardiac bundled payment models and implemented changes to the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) Model.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma stated that CMS intends to focus on “developing different bundled payment models and engaging more providers,” something she referred to as “the best way to drive health system change while minimizing burden and maintaining access to care.” She noted that CMS will announce new voluntary payment bundles soon.

The agency also finalized the cancelation of the hip fracture and cardiac bundled payment and incentive payment models – the Episode Payment Models and the Cardiac Rehabilitation Incentive Payment Model – that were scheduled to begin on January 1, 2018. The agency stated that “not pursuing these models gives CMS greater flexibility to design and test innovations that will improve quality and care coordination across the in-patient and post-acute care spectrum.”

Moving forward, CMS expects to increase opportunities for providers to participate in voluntary initiatives rather than large mandatory bundled payment models, and expects that changes in the final rule will help position the agency to engage in future voluntary efforts.

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