GAO: CMS payment reform efforts are redundant

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services may be duplicating its activities and wasting money in its testing of new payment and delivery-of-care models, Medscape reported.

A new report by the Government Accountability Office suggested CMS better coordinate the programs to save money and effort.

Only months after the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the CMS Innovation Center became operational, and received 10 times the funding for research it had received in the prior decade, according to the repot summary. As a result, CMS has launched 17 different testing programs, and at least three of them overlap in significant areas.

One example is the development of accountable care organizations, with the Pioneer and Advance Payment models duplicating the goals of the Shared Savings program.

"Largely because of questions raised during GAO's review, the Innovation Center initiated a process to ensure that CMS does not pay for the same service under the contracts in one of its models and those in another CMS office," the GAO report said. "However, officials told GAO that the center is still working on implementing this process and may need to take additional steps to eliminate any unnecessary duplication."

To learn more:
- read the Medscape article (registration required)
- check out the GAO summary and report (.pdf)