June 8, 2020

CMS' Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation last week announced changes and updates to several of the center's Medicare payment models in light of the new coronavirus epidemic, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Florida, Maryland, and New York.

  • Florida: The National Basketball Association (NBA) on Thursday approved a plan to restart the 2019-2020 season, which the NBA temporarily suspended in March after several players tested positive for the new coronavirus, on July 31. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in a statement said the association is "hopeful of finishing the season in a safe and responsible manner based on strict protocols now being finalized with public health officials and medical experts." According to the statement, Disney World in Orlando would serve "as a single site for a campus for all games, practices, and housing for the remainder of the season" in an attempt to limit potential transmission of the new coronavirus (Wimbish/Quinn, CBS Sports, 6/4; Reynolds, AP/NBA.com; 6/5; NBA release, 6/4).

  • Maryland: CMS' Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) on Wednesday announced changes related to timelines, quality reporting requirements, and the financial methodologies used for several of the center's Medicare payment models. For example, CMMI said it is extending the Next Generation ACO model, which was scheduled to end in December, for one year and will adjust how the agency determines savings and losses for participants in light of the new coronavirus epidemic. In addition, CMMI said the agency plans to start the new direct contracting pathway under the Primary Care First alternative payment model on April 1, 2021, which is three months later than the agency had planned. CMS also announced changes pertaining to its Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced model, Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model, Oncology Care Model, and more (Castellucci, "Transformation Hub," Modern Healthcare, 6/3; Haefner, Becker's Hospital CFO Report, 6/4; CMS release, 6/3).

  • New York: Three employees at Amazon's JFK8 fulfillment center in Staten Island and family members of the workers have filed a lawsuit against the company for allegedly mandating work conditions that led to at least one employee contracting the new coronavirus. The lawsuit claims that the employee then transmitted the virus to multiple family members, including one who died. The lawsuit alleges that Amazon made the warehouse a "place of danger" by obstructing efforts intended to prevent the new coronavirus' spread at the facility and instead prioritize productivity over safety. According to Reuters, Amazon said the company has followed guidance from health authorities and experts on workplace safety since the new coronavirus pandemic began, but the company did not comment on the lawsuit (Stempel, Reuters, 6/3).

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