CMS focuses on new pay model for Alzheimer's and other behavioral care

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Friday it will solicit public input on a potential behavioral health payment model for beneficiaries with conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.

The agency will hold a public meeting Sept. 8 to discuss “a potential payment or service delivery model” that would boost care and access for people with behavioral health conditions. The model would address needs of beneficiaries with “deficits in care” for substance abuse disorders, dementias, and mental disorders with co-occurring conditions.

The model may also tackle behavioral health workforce challenges. In addition, it could could qualify as an advanced alternative payment model and improve telehealth use by providers.

The announcement reinforces CMS officials' assurances that value-based initiatives are “here to stay” under the Trump administration, despite skepticism toward alternative payments from one of its top officials. The model will be designed by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, which Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D., has previously slammed for what he called a lack of demonstrated savings.