Hospitals, physicians urge CMS to delay MSSP deadline

Participation in CMS' Medicare Shared Savings Program will suffer if a deadline to apply for the program isn't extended, several hospital and physician organizations wrote in a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

The Jan. 18 letter concerns a final rule CMS issued in late December 2018 that makes sweeping changes to MSSP, including overhauling the way ACOs share in risks and rewards. The redesigned program, "Pathways to Success," offers ACOs two participation options: basic and enhanced. It also expands ACO participation agreements from three years to five years.

In early January, CMS set its application deadline for MSSP for Feb. 19, two months after it published a 267-page rule on the ACO program. Twelve organizations, including the American Hospital Association and National Association of ACOs, want more time to review the changes.

"Due to the complexity of CMS's new final rule for the program published in the Federal Register on December 31, 2018, many existing ACOs and those in the process of formation are still actively working to understand how they may successfully participate in the program," the letter states. "Additional time is needed to ensure ACOs may evaluate their options and complete the administrative and legal requirements of the application. Without additional time, participation in this voluntary program will suffer."

The organizations requested a March 29 deadline.

Here is a list of organizations that signed the letter:

American Academy of Family Physicians
American College of Physicians
America's Essential Hospitals
American Hospital Association
American Medical Association
America's Physician Groups
Association of American Medical Colleges
Federation of American Hospitals
Health Care Transformation Task Force
Medical Group Management Association
National Association of ACOs

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