Medicare's final regulations for rewarding accountable care organizations for the quality and savings they achieve are expected any day now. “I would say definitely before Nov. 1,” CMS Deputy Administrator Jonathan Blum told Modern Healthcare in an interview. The final rule implementing the ACO provisions of the 2010 healthcare reform law was sent to the Office of Management and Budget on Oct. 5 for review, usually the last step before regulations are published. The final rules have been delayed by their complexity and by the number of federal agencies involved, including HHS' inspector general's office, the Federal Trade Commission and the Internal Revenue Service.
Late News: ACO regulations expected by Nov. 1, CMS' Blum says
Several officials from those agencies have emphasized that the final regulations would include significant changes from the proposed rule issued March 30, which was widely panned in the industry as overly rigid and fraught with too much financial risk with too little potential reward. Blum said the CMS has taken those comments to heart and carefully reviewed about 1,300 comments submitted. “But we also are balancing the business side with the policy goals of quality improvement and lower costs through care improvement,” Blum said. “Despite some of the rhetoric of ‘unworkable' and ‘no way, no how,' I'm confident there's strong interest across the country, and I'm confident there's going to be even more strong interest when folks see the final rules.”
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