Bundled Payment Participants Get Two-Year Extension

Home health care providers in the bundled payments programs rolled out by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in 2013 have the opportunity to extend their participation for another two years.

The extension is designated for participants in the bundled payment models 2, 3 and 4, which began in October 2013. More than 1,500 providers, including 99 home health agencies, are part of these bundled payments models, according to CMS. The extension would allow participants to remain in the programs through September 30, 2018. The models were originally slated to end September, 2016.

CMS has continued to expand its bundled payment initiatives over the past few years with additional diagnoses and patient populations for episodes of care. The bundled payment models link payments for multiple services that patients receive during an episode of care, encouraging care coordination between different service providers—including home health.

“Bundling payment for services that patients receive across a single episode of care—such as a heart bypass surgery or a hip replacement—is one way to encourage doctors, hospitals and other health care providers to work together to better coordinate care for patients, both when they are in the hospital and after they are discharged,” CMS stated.

With a big opportunity for home health care providers to reduce overall costs of health care, even private duty providers are becoming partners in these newer models. The latest bundled payment initiative for joint replacement patients recently began April 1, 2016.

“The initiative is part of the Administration’s broader strategy to improve the health care system by paying providers for what works, unlocking health care data and finding new ways to coordinate and integrate care to improve quality and reduce costs,” CMS said.

Written by Amy Baxter