COVID-19 continues its inexorable, exponential spread here in the U.S. Hospitals in New York City, now accounting for more than 7 percent of confirmed cases worldwide, have less than a quarter of the critical equipment and supplies needed to serve an overwhelming surge of patients. Our health care providers are facing impossible choices, even considering universal Do Not Resuscitate orders for patients with COVID-19.
Less than one month ago, CMS was closing applications from providers willing to be part of a major movement to adopt financial risk as a new type of payment model. Under Direct Contracting, providers would face per-patient spending limits under a capitated payment scheme. Now that movement could be in question, along with other provider Risk programs, as total and per-case spending soar under COVID-19.
With the public health crisis upending life everywhere and provider capacity already stretched to the limit, will Medicare continue its full court press for providers to adopt financial risk? Conversely, how will CMS loosen efforts to control health care costs when its own expenses for the highest risk group of coronavirus patients will overrun the federal budget?