Robert Wood Johnson Health System in New Brunswick, N.J., has succeeded in blocking the physician "gain-sharing" demonstration project launched by the CMS and the New Jersey Hospital Association earlier this year. U.S. District Judge John Bissell, sitting in Newark, placed a permanent injunction on the three-year project, which offered performance-based incentives to physicians who help their hospitals reduce inpatient costs. Excluded from the project, Robert Wood Johnson had argued that the program created an uneven playing field that favored a select group of hospitals. At deadline, officials at the CMS and Robert Wood Johnson had no comment, and it still was not clear if the CMS could modify the plan to meet the judge's concern, which was that the arrangement violated a federal statute known as the civil monetary penalties statute. The New Jersey Hospital Association said in a written statement that the ruling was "disappointing for the New Jersey physicians and hospitals who worked together, committing their time and energy to developing this project. We consider this a lost opportunity to make the Medicare system more efficient and help preserve it into the future." -- by Cinda Becker
Judge quashes CMS' gain-sharing demo project
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