CMS advances voluntary bundled payment model despite AHA objection: 5 things to know

CMS is moving forward with a voluntary bundled payment program called the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced Model amid the American Hospital Association's request for a month delay.

Here are five things to know about AHA's concerns and the program's next steps.

1. In a Feb. 12 letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma, AHA requested CMS provide detailed information about the model by March 1, and extend the application deadline from March 12 to April 16. 

2. The AHA said CMS' information on the model raises "important questions for our members about the model's implementation. Of particular concern is the lack of sufficient operational detail about the model, making it difficult for hospitals and clinicians to make well-informed decisions as to participation."

3. Despite AHA's request, CMS posted updated materials Feb. 21 from an open-door forum held Feb. 15. The updated materials contain a question of whether CMS will consider moving back the deadline.

4. A moderator responded the March 12 deadline "cannot be pushed back. That date was set to ensure adequate time for screening of applicants as well as to maximize the amount of time applicants will have to review and analyze data and pricing information, determine participation feasibility and secure agreements from partnering entities before submitting (up binding) participation agreement to CMS by August 1st." The moderator added applicants requiring more time can apply for the program in 2020.

5. On Feb. 26, CMS also launched its first video vignettes about patient experience under BPCI Advanced and updated its Frequently Asked Questions. The first vignette compares what cardiology patients experience under a fee-for-service model versus a bundled payment program.

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