IHA Daily Briefing: July 10

Wednesday, July 10, 2019
HHS, CMS Announce Chronic Kidney Disease Models
Register for Free IHA Webinar on Staffing Challenges
Briefly Noted

HHS, CMS Announce Chronic Kidney Disease Models
Today, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced five new CMS Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation voluntary payment models that are designed to transform kidney care so that patients with chronic kidney disease have access to high quality, coordinated care.

The proposed End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Treatment Choices (ETC) Model is said to encourage greater use of home dialysis and kidney transplants for Medicare beneficiaries with ESRD in order to preserve or enhance their quality of care while reducing Medicare expenditures. The proposed ETC Model would adjust certain Medicare payments to ESRD facilities and clinicians managing ESRD beneficiaries (Managing Clinicians) that are selected for participation in the model, through upward or downward payment adjustments based on their home and transplant rates to increase utilization of home dialysis and rates of kidney and kidney-pancreas transplants. Specifically, CMS would positively adjust certain Medicare payments to participating ESRD facilities and Managing Clinicians for the first three years of the model for home dialysis and dialysis-related services.

The payment adjustments for the selected ESRD facilities and Managing Clinicians would apply to Medicare claims from Jan. 1, 2020 through June 30, 2026.

The proposed Kidney Care First (KCF) and Comprehensive Kidney Care Contracting (CKCC) Models were developed to test new Medicare payment options that aim to improve the quality of care for patients with kidney disease. In the KCF Model, participating nephrology practices will receive adjusted fixed payments on a per-patient basis for managing the care of patients with late-stage chronic kidney disease and patients with ESRD. The payments will be adjusted based on health outcomes and utilization compared to the participating practice’s own experience and national standards, as well as performance on quality measures. In addition, participating practices will receive a bonus payment for every patient aligned to them that receives a kidney transplant based on the transplant remaining healthy for up to three years after the surgery. 

The CKCC Models include the Graduated, Professional, and Global Models—in which capitated payments will be similar to the capitated payments under the KCF Model, but the Kidney Contracting Entities – which consist of nephrologists, transplant providers, and other health care providers including dialysis facilities – will take responsibility for the total cost and quality of care for their patients, and in exchange, can receive a portion of the Medicare savings they achieve.

The KCF and CKCC Models are expected to run from Jan. 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2023, with the option for one or two additional performance years, at CMS’ discretion.

CMS also released a proposed Radiation Oncology Model that would, if finalized, improve the quality of care for cancer patients receiving radiotherapy treatment, and reduce provider burden by moving toward a simplified and predictable payment system.

Register for Free IHA Webinar on Staffing Challenges
Finding qualified staff takes time and resources—fortunately, there's help.

Next week, FocusOne Solutions and IHA are co-hosting a complimentary webinar, Solutions for Today's Healthcare Staffing Challenges, to share how your organization can streamline staffing processes while reducing labor spend.

From 10 to 11 a.m. on July 16, FocusOne business development executives Courtney Dobernecker and Dan Nordstrom will discuss how you can:

  • Save time by utilizing a managed service provider (MSP) to prescreen candidates and manage onboarding tasks;
  • Use supplemental staff to fill permanent positions; and
  • Work with an MSP to drill down on your hospital's labor spend to the cost center, department or individual.

As an MSP, FocusOne acts as an extension of hospital HR departments to centralize functions and eliminate outside stressors, adapting to their clients' needs every step of the way. FocusOne is an IHA Strategic Partner because of its proven track record with hospitals in Illinois, as well as nationwide. CEOs, CFOs, CNOs, and leaders in human resources and patient care are encouraged to attend.

Don't miss this opportunity to re-examine your approach to operational challenges of fluctuating staff needs and high turnover. Register today.

Briefly Noted
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that Paul Mango, the current chief of staff at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, has been promoted to serve as the department’s deputy chief of staff for policy, a newly created position to oversee policy planning and coordination for the department.

The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology recently announced that Deputy National Coordinator Jon White, M.D. is stepping down from the agency's leadership position in August. Steven Posnack, who is currently the executive director of the ONC Office of Technology, will step into the deputy national coordinator position Aug. 19.