Bundled pay expansion into cardiac care held 3 months

Cardiac procedures will not be subject to bundling so soon.
Cardiac procedures will not be subject to bundling so soon.

Federal regulators have postponed the implementation of the extension of a bundled pay program that was to start including cardiac care treatments. Some observers believed it could be a precursor to a permanent delay or halt to related projects.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services also announced a delay to changes to the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement program. 

The cardiac care model was scheduled to begin in a demonstration project on July 1, along with the CCJR updates, but they will be pushed back to at least Oct. 1, officials announced March 20.

Another bundle, for patients who undergo non-replacement surgery following a hip fracture, also was finalized.

The cardiac segment would create bundles for patients who receive cardiac rehabilitation, suffer heart attacks or undergo heart surgery.

CMS officials pushed back the effective date of the final rules, from March 21, 2017, to May 20, 2017. Originally, it was in late February, but that was postponed a month so the new administration could get its arms around the plan.

The delays may be a sign that bundled payment initiatives are in danger under the new administration, according to some observers. In its interim rule, CMS stated that the delay is meant to give officials more time to review the policies.

The delay is partially to help ensure providers “are not required to take needless compliance steps,” the interim rule reads.

The interim rule also notes that CMS will be accepting comments on the delay, with the possibility of further pushing back the implementation date of the rule to Jan. 1, 2018. If the agency decides to delay the cardiac bundles, it also will push back the joint replacement expansion until Jan. 1, according to the rule.