The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released proposed  regulations for the Medicare Shared Savings Program (“MSSP”) on Monday December 1, 2014.  The proposed regulations are scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on December 8, 2014, and those wishing to submit comments to the agency will have sixty days after their publication in the Federal Register to do so. CMS stated that the regulations will generally be effective sixty days after they are published in final form.

CMS’ discussion and the proposed regulations span over 400 pages and cover many   operational details of the MSSP.  Some selected highlights are noted below:

  • CMS proposes to permit ACOs currently enrolled in the MSSP’s “upside risk only” model to continue to participate in the “upside risk only” model for a second “agreement period” with a reduced shared savings rate.
  • CMS proposes to create a new “track 3” “upside/downside” risk model with higher rates of savings and the prospective attribution of beneficiaries.
  • CMS proposes to place a “greater emphasis on primary care services delivered by nurse practitioners, physician assistants and clinical nurse specialists in the beneficiary assignment process, and to eliminate the exclusivity requirement for certain specialists that were previously required to be exclusive to one ACO on the basis that they render some services that are considered primary care services.
  • CMS proposes to eliminate the requirement that ACOs send out data sharing “opt out” letters to beneficiaries and would require beneficiaries to opt out of data sharing exclusively by contacting CMS as opposed having the option to opt out by contacting the ACOs directly.

The health care industry will be digesting CMS’ voluminous and in some cases highly technical proposed changes to the MSSP over the next 60 days and the Health Law Informer will continue to provide more details regarding these regulations and the industry’s reaction to them.

To read the complete text of the proposed regulations click here.