The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has pushed back the implementation date for its bundled payments for cardiac care from July 1 until Oct. 1, according to Cardiovascular Business. It also suggested it could further delay the model until Jan. 1, 2018.
CMS announced the delay of the program, titled the Cardiac Rehabilitation Incentive Payment Model, this week in the Federal Register.
The bundled-payment program would allow approximately 1,120 acute care hospitals in 98 designated markets to hold on to 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.
CMS previously predicted that the program - which also covers knee and hip replacement - would 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.
The new Secretary of Health & Human Services, Tom Price, has been a critic of the program, objecting to the mandatory nature of the initiative. Seema Verma, the new CMS administrator, said during her confirmation hearing in February that she preferred a gradual expansion of new payment models, Cardiovascular Business reported.
The CMS announcement said an additional three-month delay is necessary to allow time for additional review, "to ensure that the agency has adequate time to undertake notice and comment rulemaking to modify the policy if modifications are warranted, and to ensure that in such a case participants have a clear understanding of the governing rules and are not required to take needless compliance steps."
CMS added that participants would have more time to prepare for these models with the delay and that it would be preferable for payment periods to align with the calendar year. As a result, the CMS said, it is seeking comment on delaying the bundles until January 2018.
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.