Comments on CMS-5531-IFC: Additional Policy and Regulatory Revisions in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

The Health Care Transformation Task Force (HCTTF or Task Force) commented on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) final rule with comment period (5531-IFC) addressing new and revised regulatory actions in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). HCTTF provided comments on the specific provisions of the Final Rule as well as feedback on specific program changes of importance to our members and strategies to address some of the long-term issues that may be created by COVID-19.

Task Force Response Summary

  1. Medicare Shared Savings Program.
    1. HCTTF does not support the decision to prevent new applicants from entering for the 2021 program year. We strongly encourage CMS to continue to allow new applications for the 2021 MSSP program year.
    2. The Task Force requests that CMS allow ACOs to freeze their current 2020 risk level for one year and then resume the glide path in PY 2022 at the risk level they would have been on in PY 2021 absent the freeze rather than jumping to the PY 2022 risk level.
    3. We urge CMS to recognize the added pandemic-related costs incurred by ACO participants when treating patients (including the COVID cases that do not require hospitalizations) and providing necessary follow-up care.
    4. CMS should explore additional approaches to evaluate the accuracy of the episode-based exclusion in capturing true COVID impacts such as comparing the episode results to regional COVID prevalence.
    5. The Task Force requests CMS evaluate and publicly report data on the impacts of COVID-19 on all service utilization for patients with an without an inpatient admission.
  2. Payment for Audio-Only Telephone Evaluation and Management Services. HCTTF members appreciate that CMS was responsive to stakeholder feedback in the decision to update reimbursement amounts for audio-only telehealth services to reflect the resource requirements for delivering these services.


Read the Letter Here