CMS' proposal to cancel bundled payment models draws support from AHA

The American Hospital Association generally supports CMS' proposal to cancel or scale back major bundled payment initiatives, AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels wrote in a letter submitted to CMS on Tuesday.

CMS released a proposed rule in August that would cancel the mandatory bundled payment program for heart attacks and bypass surgeries and the cardiac rehabilitation model, which is intended to test whether a payment incentive can increase the utilization of cardiac rehabilitative services. The proposal would also cancel mandatory bundling for hip and femur fracture treatment under the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement program and scale back the existing CJR model.

Although hospitals generally support CMS' proposals, some have raised concerns. Therefore, the AHA encouraged CMS to create new payment models.

"We urge CMS to expeditiously pursue the creation of new, voluntary [alternative payment models] that would allow hospitals to not only capitalize on the work many of them already have done to prepare for such models, but also partner with clinicians to provide better quality, more efficient care," stated the AHA's letter to CMS.  

Under CMS' proposed rule, the CJR program would be mandatory for hospitals in 34 of the 67 geographic areas chosen for the program. The CJR model would continue on a voluntary basis in the other 33 geographic areas. The proposed rule would also make participating in the CJR model voluntary for all low-volume and rural hospitals in the 67 areas, a move the AHA voiced support for in its letter to CMS. 

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