Bundled Health Payments Still on the Chopping Block Despite Price’s Exit

Medicare’s mandatory bundled payments are unlikely to survive the chopping block despite the resignation of one of their harshest critics.

“Regardless of who becomes health and human services secretary, I don’t see any drastic change for the canceled bundles,” John Feore, a director at Avalere, a Washington-based consulting company, told me. “I’m sure the cancellation was at Tom Price’s direction, but his resignation is unlikely to change anything.”

Feore’s comments are in response to an August proposed rule (RIN:0938-AT16) that seeks to cancel Medicare episodic payment models and the cardiac rehabilitation incentive payment program, which would extend bundled payments to hospitals for some cardiac and orthopedic services. Price, who vocally opposed the mandatory nature of the bundles during his time in Congress, resigned as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in late September. Bundled payments are part of a larger value-based approach to lower health-care costs and improve patient outcomes.

“There likely won’t be a big change in the agency’s position on bundled payments once a new secretary is confirmed,” Mark Reagan, managing partner in the health-care law practice of Hooper, Lundy & Bookman PC in San Francisco, told me. “Whoever is chosen will likely have the same position regarding the bundles.”

Read my full article here.

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