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CMS Proposes Changes to the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model, cancellation of the mandatory Episode Payment Models and Cardiac Rehabilitation Incentive Payment Model

Aug 16, 2017

Proposed rule to offer greater flexibility and choice for hospitals in orthopedic care for Medicare beneficiaries. 

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a proposed rule to reduce the number of mandatory geographic areas participating in the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation’s (Innovation Center) Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) model from 67 to 34. In addition, CMS proposes to allow CJR participants in the 33 remaining areas to participate on a voluntary basis. In this rule, CMS also proposes to make participation in the CJR model voluntary for all low volume and rural hospitals in all of the CJR geographic areas.

CMS also is proposing through this rule to cancel the Episode Payment Models (EPMs) and the Cardiac Rehabilitation (CR) incentive payment model, which were scheduled to begin on January 1, 2018. Eliminating these models would give CMS greater flexibility to design and test innovations that will improve quality and care coordination across the in-patient and post-acute-care spectrum.

“Changing the scope of these models allows CMS to test and evaluate improvements in care processes that will improve quality, reduce costs, and ease burdens on hospitals,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “Stakeholders have asked for more input on the design of these models. These changes make this possible and give CMS maximum flexibility to test other episode-based models that will bring about innovation and provide better care for Medicare beneficiaries.”

Moving forward, CMS expects to increase opportunities for providers to participate in voluntary initiatives rather than large mandatory episode payment model efforts. The changes in the proposed rule would allow the agency to engage providers in future voluntary efforts, including additional voluntary episode-based payment models.  

The EPMs and the CR incentive models were designed as mandatory payment models and implemented via notice and comment rulemaking to test the effects of bundling cardiac and orthopedic care beginning in 2018. They were established by the Innovation Center under the authority of section 1115A of the Social Security Act (the Act).

For more information on the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model, please visit: https://innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/cjr

For more information on the EPM and CR models proposed for rescission, please visit: https://innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/epm

The proposed rule (CMS-5524-P) can be downloaded from the Federal Register at: https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection. Public comments are due by October 16 at 11:59 pm EST.

Please note: This is just a proposal. Your Academy will keep you updated if any changes are implemented.