When I heard CMS Principal Deputy Administrator Marilyn Tavenner's response to my question about when the CMS will issue its highly anticipated ACO regulation, I sensed the rule might actually come this week. It was the second “very” that had me almost convinced.
“Very soon,” Tavenner said after she delivered remarks about the Affordable Care Act to healthcare providers, lobbyists and journalists in Washington's Union Station on Tuesday morning. Tavenner was a keynote speaker at an event to kick off a new e-newsletter. “That's all I can tell you—very, very soon.”
Some ACO-related news from HHS about an hour later heightened my expectations. Tomorrow afternoon, CMS Administrator Don Berwick and Jon Blum, the agency's deputy administrator and director of the center for Medicare, will host a background briefing to discuss ACOs. Richard Sorian, HHS' assistant secretary for public affairs, will also participate in the call.