An Alternative Payment Model (APM) is a payment approach that offers incentive payments for providing high-quality and cost-efficient care. APMs can apply to a specific clinical condition, a care episode, or a population.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed within the 2019 physician fee schedule to require many physical therapists in private practice to participate in the Quality Payment Program (QPP) through 1 of 2 tracks: either the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or Advanced APMs. Advanced APMs are a subset of APMs that let practices earn more rewards in exchange for taking on risk related to patient outcomes.
In the Advanced APM track of QPP, you may earn a 5% incentive for achieving threshold levels of payments or patients, and participation in the Advanced APM exempts you from the MIPS reporting requirements (the other QPP track).
Prepare for Change
Current Bundled APMs
Bundled Payment for Care Improvements Advanced (BPCI Advanced)
BPCI Advanced is a new voluntary episodic payment model that will test bundled payments for episodes of care related to 32 conditions or procedures, from acute myocardial infarction to urinary tract infection. BPCI Advanced qualifies as an Advanced APM under QPP. An episode of care begins either with an inpatient admission to an acute care hospital (called an anchor stay) or with the start of an outpatient procedure (called an anchor procedure). Anchor stays are identified by MS-DRGs, and anchor procedures are identified by HCPCS codes. The episode ends 90 days after the end of the anchor stay or anchor procedure. The first group of participants starts October 1, 2018; CMS will offer a second application period in spring 2019, for a January 2020 start. The program is scheduled to end December 31, 2023. Physical therapists are eligible to participate.
Review CMS's overview of BPCI Advanced.
Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model (CJR)
CJR is a payment model being tested for episodes of care related to total knee and total hip replacements (MS-DRG 469 and 470) under Medicare. One track of the CJR model qualifies as an Advanced APM under QPP. The model began April 1, 2016, and will run through December 31, 2020. CJR holds participant hospitals financially accountable for the quality and cost of an episode of care and incentivizes increased coordination among participating hospitals, physicians, and postacute care providers such as physical therapists. An episode of care begins with a patient's hospital admission, continues upon hospital discharge, and ends 90 days postdischarge to cover the patient's complete period of recovery.
As of February 1, 2018, about 465 hospitals in 67 metropolitan statistical areas are participating in CJR. Physical therapists in these areas are encouraged to consider affiliation with these hospitals.
Review CMS's overview of CJR.
Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) Initiative
BPCI comprises 4 broadly defined models that link payments for the multiple services beneficiaries receive during an episode of care, making the service providers jointly accountable for the patient's care. Under the initiative, organizations enter into payment arrangements that include financial and performance accountability for episodes of care.
Review CMS's overview of BPCI.