Cardiac Bundled-Payment Program to Go Forward Despite Change in Administration

The bundled-payment program for cardiac care will go forward despite the Trump administration and the confirmation of new Health & Human Services Secretary Tom  Price, a critic of the program. July 1 remains the start date for the initiative, according to an HHS official who spoke to Modern Healthcare.

Under the bundled-payment model, hospitals in 98 designated markets can keep the savings they achieve if they spend less than the target price for a 90-day episode of care for bypass and heart attack patients. However, hospitals that exceed the target price must repay Medicare -- and Target prices will be determined retrospectively.

The HHS spokesman confirmed that the start of the initiative will not be slowed by the Trump administration, which previously had moved to delay the effective date for a rule that launched it. Nor does it appear that Price will stand in the way of its implementation.

Last fall, Price criticized bundled payments in a letter to then-President Obama. Price objected to the mandatory nature of the initiative, arguing that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid had exceeded its authority and upset the balance of power between Congress and the president.

CMS predicts that the program--which also covers knee and hip replacement--will save the federal government as much as $159 million between now and 2021. In 2014, the CMS said, heart attack treatment for 200,000 patients cost Medicare more than $6 billion. 

From one hospital to another, the cost of treating heart attack patients varies by as much as 50 percent. Does your hospital have a plan to meet the target prices for bypass and heart attack patients? LUMEDX's Cardiovascular Performance Program can help. Click here to find out how. 

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