In contrast with Trump administration, Azar backs mandatory bundled payments

HHS secretary nominee Alex Azar was grilled on everything from welfare reform to drug prices at his Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday, but his most surprising answers revealed support for mandatory pilot programs.

Mr. Azar said he is in favor of mandatory testing of value-based payment models, such as bundled payments, according to a report from the Morning Consult. Mr. Azar's view is in stark contrast to that of his predecessor, Tom Price, MD, and the Trump administration, which canceled and scaled back major mandatory bundled payment initiatives last fall.

Mr. Azar believes mandatory pilots are necessary for effective testing. "If to test a hypothesis around changing our healthcare system it needs to be mandatory as opposed to voluntary to get adequate data — then so be it," Mr. Azar said at the hearing, according to the Morning Consult.

Coincidentally, CMS announced Tuesday it will launch a new voluntary bundled payment initiative called Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced, which will qualify as an Advanced Alternative Payment Model under the Quality Payment Program. 

 

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