Bundled Payments program extended through September 2018

Healthcare providers participating in the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) initiative have two additional years to determine if the models they’re testing are producing healthcare at lower costs.

Bundling payments for services patients receive across a single “episode of care” can encourage healthcare providers to better coordinate care during treatment and beyond.  

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Monday that healthcare providers testing Models 2, 3 and 4 of the BPCI initiative can extend their participation through September 30, 2018, two years past the original date the initiative was to end.

Developed by CMS’s Innovation Center, the BPCI initiative was created under the Affordable Care Act to test new service and payment delivery models designed to improve quality of care while reducing costs to Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

The BCPI initiative currently has 1,522 participants in Phase 2 of the BCPI initiative. Nearly half (681) are skilled nursing facilities, while 385 acute care hospitals, 283 physician group practices, 99 home health agencies, and nine inpatient rehabilitation facilities also participate.

There are 48 clinical episodes in Models 2, 3 and 4 from which participants can choose when considering opportunities for improving care quality while saving money, including congestive heart failure, sepsis, stroke, and major joint replacement of the lower extremity.

In a blog post, CMS Acting Principal Deputy Administrator and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Patrick Conway said the extension allows the federal health agency “to provide a more robust and rigorous evaluation of the initiative and determine whether the efforts of bundling payments are successful in providing better care while spending health care dollars more wisely.”

At a recent Capitol Hill hearing, healthcare providers praised a CMS bundled payment initiative for joint replacements.

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