BPCI Advanced Open Window Reflections: What We Know and What We’re Still Waiting For

At the beginning of 2018, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its most innovative bundled payment program yet, BPCI Advanced, officially kicking off a busy and exciting two-month window for providers to apply to the program. 

Tremendous Interest
During the application process, Archway was proud to apply with many practices and providers. Since March 12, the application deadline, our team has been notified by CMS that the agency is working through the program’s “high volume of inquiries” and are “excited about the enthusiastic response” to BPCI Advanced. We are too. It is encouraging to see the momentum building in the shift to value-based care. 

CMS has driven strong uptake in value-based care models, as evidenced by the interplay of other models with BPCI Advanced. In the application period, many providers had to consider the hierarchy of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), the mandatory Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model (CJR), and BPCI Advanced, reflecting the prevalence of these new alternative payment models. Attribution ‘trumping’ was not an issue with BPCI 1.0 just a few short years ago.

New Features, New Crowd
As promised, CMS made significant changes to the BPCI Advanced program from its original predecessor. We believe the amount of interest can be largely attributed to the program improvements outlined below. New entrants to the market were drawn by:

  • New outpatient bundles – CMS tested episode cost measures in November 2017, hinting at potential outpatient bundle features in new programs. BPCI Advanced includes three outpatient bundles: Cardiac Defibrillator; Back & Neck, except Spinal Fusion; and Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI).

  • More fair pricing methodology – CMS refined its target pricing methodology, determining how providers earn shared savings. With the incorporation of regional pricing adjustments, peer group factors, patient-level risk factors, and a regression model, we believe the new methodology incentivizes provider participation more than the original program.

  • New Advanced APM Qualification – BPCI Advanced qualifies as an Advanced Alternative Payment Model (Advanced APM) under the MACRA Quality Payment Program, giving many specialists the first chance to receive the 5% bonus under MACRA’s A-APMs track.

Having been involved in BPCI 1.0 and advocated for providers in development of the new program, we predicted these and other new features of BPCI Advanced. The continued and increased interest in bundled payments is evidence that the changes are appealing to many. 

More to Learn
Prior to August 1, when providers have to make their final participation decision, there are still more details to come from CMS. Providers will be receiving data and target prices for their bundles. 

What we’re still waiting for: 

  • Pricing methodology details – Remaining elements include final prediction models and clarity on incentives for low-cost, high-performing providers

  • Fraud and Abuse waivers – Requested by CMS to allow BPCI Advanced participants to engage in NPRA Sharing

  • Quality scoring methodology – Details forthcoming on how CMS will calculate providers’ individual Composite Quality Score

  • Participation Agreement – These will outline the criteria for permissible Financial Arrangements among NPRA Sharing Partners

Though we are waiting for these items, we encourage providers to get started on identifying their opportunities and designing and building a program. Don’t wait to set yourself up for success in BPCI Advanced.