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 AHCA/NCAL 'Appreciates' CMS Efforts On Bundled Medicare Model, Looks To Next Time

Washington, D.C.—Skilled nursing centers have been left out  of government experiments in bundled Medicare payments for knee and hip replacements, but the nation’s largest provider advocacy group says its members “appreciate” regulators’ efforts and are hopeful their turn will come soon.

 

Officials at the Centers for Medicare and & Medicaid Services (CMS) moved rapidly to finalize a rule that holds hospitals financially responsible for entire “episodes of care” when Medicare patients have their knees or hips replaced. The comment period closed in September, and the final rules were published late Monday afternoon: By federal agency standards, that’s overnight.

 

Provider advocates, led by the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living, worked hard to convince regulators not to lock their sector out of the new bundled payment experiments. But Mark Parkinson, AHCA/NCAL’s president and chief executive officer, found cheer that the final notice “makes it easier for more skilled nursing centers to participate, and creates an incentive for quality improvements.”

 

“We wish CMS had accommodated our request for post-acute facilities to hold the bundle. It did not,” Parkinson added. “But, we are pleased that CMS has indicated they may consider, through future rulemaking, other episode-of-care models in which post-acute care providers are financially responsible for the costs of care.”

 

Provider advocates have predicted that the next few months will see a flurry of regulatory activity as President Obama hopes to lock in his health care reforms before the next election. For Parkinson, who has taken a more diplomatic approach to regulators since taking over AHCA/NCAL five years ago, the bigger picture was still in focus.

 

“We appreciate the concerted effort the administration is making to shift outcomes from volume to quality,” he said.

 

Bill Myers is Provider’s senior editor. Email him at wmyers@providermagazine.com. Follow him on Twitter, @ProviderMyers.

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