Not enough applicants: CMS stalls bundled payment initiative

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Regulators say they are delaying implementation of one of the Affordable Care Act's bundled payment initiatives due to low applicant turnout.

The ACA's bundled payment initiative has four different models of care under which the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would pay fixed amounts to providers — including acute- and post-acute care and rehabilitation providers — during a defined episode of care. This gives providers flexibility in determining which services will be bundled together.

Provider interest in three of the four bundled payment models has been strong, but Model 1 has attracted fewer participants, CMS officials told the Bureau of National Affairs. The model that is being delayed pertains to hospital inpatient stays. Under this plan, Medicare would pay doctors separately for their services under the Medicare physician fee schedule, which would allow hospitals and physicians to share in the savings for better coordination of care.

“CMS has decided to delay further implementation of Model 1 until we can review how the model and its likely participants would fit into the broader bundles portfolio,” a CMS spokeswoman said.