A final rule by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that establishes several cardiac and orthopedic bundled-payment models under Medicare was recently delayed; however, recent reports clarified that the launch date of the bundled-payment models will not be affected by the rule’s postponement.
According to a notice in the Federal Register, the effective date for the new rule has been delayed from February 18, 2017 to March 21, 2017—in order to comply with a recent executive order.
The final rule will launch a mandatory pilot program that holds hospitals in 98 markets financially accountable for bypass surgery and heart attack treatment outcomes. Additionally, the hospitals will be responsible for expanding the bundled-payment rules for hip and knee replacements to include hip and femur fracture repair.
HHS said the rule was delayed in accordance with President Donald Trump’s executive order that prohibited new regulations and rules for the first 60 days of the new administration. HHS clarified that the rule does not delay the planned July 1, 2017 launch of the bundled payment models. An HHS spokesperson confirmed that because the new effective date falls after the 60-day freeze, the original launch date is still valid.
However, HHS announced that some minor components of the original rule would be delayed. These include adjustments to quality scores and a new MACRA-compliant track of the joint-replacement model. An HHS spokesperson said this delay should not impact daily operations. Additionally, the HHS spokesperson said there are no plans to further change the launch of the models.
—Julie Gould (Mazurkiewicz)