CMS to delay start date for radiation oncology model, as urged by AHA

Oct. 22, 2020

As strongly urged by the American Hospital Association (AHA), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it will delay the January 1 start date for its new radiation oncology alternative payment model. 

The agency will delay the model until July 2021 through upcoming rulemaking, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said, citing feedback from the provider community that it needs more time to prepare. 

AHA had urged the CMS Innovation to delay the start date for its new radiation oncology alternative payment model until Jan. 1, 2022. The complex model, which will be mandatory in certain areas of the country and for which many details are still forthcoming, “would be difficult to implement in three months in the best of circumstances; it will be nearly impossible to implement in three months during a public health emergency,” AHA wrote. 

AHA also urged CMMI to reconsider sudden changes to the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced model effective January 1, especially the move to clinical episode service line groups. “Requiring model participants to take on risk for large, diverse bundles of episodes — instead of allowing them to choose individual episodes as is current policy — will require more financial risk than many participants can currently bear,” AHA wrote. It urged the agency at least to delay the changes for a year so participants can model their impact before having to make participation decisions.   

AHA has the release

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