Leading the News: Healthcare Industry Awaits Release Of HHS Regulations On ACOs.

Politico (3/30, Nather, Feder) reports that healthcare “lobbyists and advocates are bracing for six pages of the healthcare reform law to explode into more than 1,000 pages of federal regulations when the Department of Health and Human Services releases its long-delayed accountable care organization rules this week.” Politico says that numerous pages of regulations are necessary “to settle all of the questions that hospitals and doctors want settled so they don’t get into trouble.” Yet, “Administration officials are mum about the regulations, beyond saying that they expect them to come out soon.” While Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator Don Berwick said the rules would be announced in January, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius indicated that the rules would be unveiled at the end of March.

        CQ HealthBeat (3/30, Reichard, subscription required) reports that when “the accountable care organization proposal is released this week, policy insiders will want to see how the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services plans to convince 35 million Medicare enrollees who have rejected managed care to suddenly sign on.” CQ adds that “ACOs are the health overhaul’s attempt to bring managed care techniques to Medicare’s traditional fee-for-service population.” While the “group has been given the option every year of enrolling in the Medicare Advantage program, which consists mostly of health maintenance organizations and preferred provider organizations,” they have consistently opted not to enroll in it.

        In another article, CQ HealthBeat (3/30, Reichard, subscription required) reports that a “much-anticipated proposal on Medicare contracting with accountable care organizations will give the public considerable time to comment before the plan takes effect, administration sources say.” CQ adds that the “proposal will be issued under a notice of proposed rulemaking.”

        Separately, CQ HealthBeat (3/30, Norman, subscription required) reports that there “likely will be many different models and approaches proposed for accountable care organizations within Medicare, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services intends to consider all the groups that apply, a top agency official said at a conference Tuesday.” Yet, CMS’s principal deputy administrator Marilyn Tavenner says that “it’s still not clear how many applications will come in the door once rules governing the organizations – known as ACOs – are put in place.” Some industry experts says that it is “not clear whether CMS might wait to award ACO contracts until it determines which ACO approaches in pilot projects have the most promise.” Modern Healthcare (3/30, Zigmond, Daly, subscription required) also covers the story. 

Politico (3/30, Nather, Feder) reports that healthcare “lobbyists and advocates are bracing for six pages of the healthcare reform law to explode into more than 1,000 pages of federal regulations when the Department of Health and Human Services releases its long-delayed accountable care organization rules this week.” Politico says that numerous pages of regulations are necessary “to settle all of the questions that hospitals and doctors want settled so they don’t get into trouble.” Yet, “Administration officials are mum about the regulations, beyond saying that they expect them to come out soon.” While Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator Don Berwick said the rules would be announced in January, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius indicated that the rules would be unveiled at the end of March.

        CQ HealthBeat (3/30, Reichard, subscription required) reports that when “the accountable care organization proposal is released this week, policy insiders will want to see how the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services plans to convince 35 million Medicare enrollees who have rejected managed care to suddenly sign on.” CQ adds that “ACOs are the health overhaul’s attempt to bring managed care techniques to Medicare’s traditional fee-for-service population.” While the “group has been given the option every year of enrolling in the Medicare Advantage program, which consists mostly of health maintenance organizations and preferred provider organizations,” they have consistently opted not to enroll in it.

        In another article, CQ HealthBeat (3/30, Reichard, subscription required) reports that a “much-anticipated proposal on Medicare contracting with accountable care organizations will give the public considerable time to comment before the plan takes effect, administration sources say.” CQ adds that the “proposal will be issued under a notice of proposed rulemaking.”

        Separately, CQ HealthBeat (3/30, Norman, subscription required) reports that there “likely will be many different models and approaches proposed for accountable care organizations within Medicare, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services intends to consider all the groups that apply, a top agency official said at a conference Tuesday.” Yet, CMS’s principal deputy administrator Marilyn Tavenner says that “it’s still not clear how many applications will come in the door once rules governing the organizations – known as ACOs – are put in place.” Some industry experts says that it is “not clear whether CMS might wait to award ACO contracts until it determines which ACO approaches in pilot projects have the most promise.” Modern Healthcare (3/30, Zigmond, Daly, subscription required) also covers the story.

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