CMS Announces Proposed Changes to the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model

On Tuesday, August 15, CMS released a proposed rule that would make changes to the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) Model in an effort to offer greater flexibility for hospitals who treat orthopedic needs of Medicare beneficiaries. The proposed rule would decrease the number of mandatory geographic areas that participate in the CJR model and would allow participants in the remaining areas to voluntarily participate.  Additionally, CMS is proposing to make the CJR model voluntary for all low volume, rural hospitals in CJR areas. 

To offer additional flexibility and allow for innovation, CMS is also proposing to cancel two mandatory bundled payment models that were scheduled to begin in January, 2018 – the Episode Payment Models (EPMs) and the Cardiac Rehabilitation (CR) incentive payment model.  

In a CMS press release, CMS Administrator, Seema Verma stated, “Changing the scope of these models allows CMS to test and evaluate improvements in care processes that will improve quality, reduce costs, and ease burdens on hospitals.”

CMS is accepting public comment on the proposed rule through October 16, 2017.