Participants in the CMS' advanced bundled payment model will soon be able to apply the benefits of the program to all beneficiaries part of the Medicare Shared Savings Program.
In an email on Friday, the CMS said beginning Jan. 1, healthcare providers participating in model year 3 of the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced program will take precedence over Medicare ACOs in the enhanced track, which has the most downside risk. Prior to this, participants in the bundle could only apply the program to beneficiaries if they were in the basic track, or ACOs in tracks previously called Tracks 1, 1+ and 2.
"This decision is evidence of CMS' commitment to addressing the overlap in alternative payment models," said Gina Bruno, vice president for clinical strategy at naviHealth, a convener for hospitals that participate in BPCI, in an email.
"There are still details to iron out, such as how to manage 'double-counting' in savings, but now, both BPCI Advanced and enhanced track ACO participants have an opportunity to participate in these models and achieve savings through improved patient outcomes," she added.
The move may encourage more providers to participate in BPCI Advanced. Before the change, the BPCI Advanced benefits were limited to certain Medicare ACO beneficiaries.
Participation in BPCI Advanced has dropped substantially so far. In March, the CMS announced that 1,086 healthcare providers were in the model, a 16% decline from the 1,299 entities in October 2018.
It's unclear how much it will encourage providers to join the bundled program given the historically low participant numbers in the enhanced track. In 2017, ACOs in the enhanced track, which was previously known as Track 3 before the program changes, only accounted for 7% of the total ACOs in the Medicare Shared Savings Program.
The deadline to apply for the second cohort of BPCI Advanced closes June 24.