October 25, 2011

Inconsistent CMS Pilots Leave Hospitals Feeling Swamped

Written by Molly Gamble

A surplus of pilot programs paired with uncertainty over which models will actually stick is leaving many hospitals overwhelmed and feeling as though they can’t participate in more than one, according to a Politico report.

Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System withdrew its application last month to participate in CMS’ Pioneer ACO program. The move was partially due to its participation in a 2010 pilot called the Michigan Primary Care Transformation Project, which involves Medicare, Medicaid and Blue Cross Blue Shield and the creation of medical homes.

“We have no issue with what [CMS is] trying to do,” Henry Ford Executive Vice President Mark Kelley said in the report. Mr. Kelley said “another layer over the top” of the system’s current participation in a pilot program would be distracting given the amount of work the system has underway.

An official from Charlotte, N.C.-based Premier said the sporadic roll out of CMS initiatives and uncertainty surrounding ACOs is leaving many people “just overwhelmed,” according to the report.

Other experts say the pilots and programs don’t share the same template and have different performance standards and participation requirements. This makes it difficult for hospitals to sort through them or engage in multiple opportunities simultaneously, according to the report.

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