CMS Delays Payment Model Expansion, Again

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  • March 21, 2017
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It may be spring, but the freeze is still on in Washington, D.C. — the “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review” memorandum, or Freeze Memo, that is.
The Freeze Memo encourages agencies to temporarily postpone the effective date of regulations that have been published in the Federal Register, but have not taken effect, for 60 days from the date the memo went out, Jan. 20. And in cases where the effective date has been delayed to review questions of fact, law, or policy, agencies should consider potentially proposing further notice-and-comment rule-making, the memo states.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) initially responded to the freeze by postponing the Feb. 18 effective date of the Advancing Care Coordination Through Episode Payment Models (EPMs); Cardiac Rehabilitation (CR) Incentive Payment Model; and Changes to the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model final rule, published Jan. 3, until March 21.
On March 20, CMS issued an interim final rule (IFC), postponing the effective start date of these models, yet again, to May 20. CMS is also seeking comment on whether to further delay the start date until Jan. 1, 2018.
This IFC also delays regulations in the final rule that were to be applicable on July 1 to Oct. 1, and delays the effective date of conforming changes to Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model provisions in the Jan. 3 final rule from July 1 to Oct. 1.
See the Jan. 3 final rule (82 FR 180) for information regarding these models and the changes to the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model.

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Renee Dustman, BS, AAPC MACRA Proficient, is managing editor - content & editorial at AAPC. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Media Communications - Journalism. Renee has more than 30 years' experience in journalistic reporting, print production, graphic design, and content management. Follow her on Twitter @dustman_aapc.

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