A Milestone Is Reached As CMS Moves Beyond Voluntary Participation

(By – Jackson Williams, healthaffairs.org)

The announcement last month from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model is a significant milestone on the road to payment reform. For the first time, the agency is using its waiver authority under the Innovation Center statute to mandate provider participation in one of its demonstrations.

Over the first four years of Innovation Center operations, Medicare provider participation has been strictly voluntary because CMS leadership wanted to minimize provider push-back during implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Now, that policy has changed, and, on balance, it is a change for the better. The new course may be the result of new officials at the helm of CMS and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a feeling that payment reform has matured or gained momentum, or a recognition that alternative payment models are unlikely to prosper as purely voluntary options. Read more…


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