Bundled payment arrangements are becoming increasingly common in heathcare today, offered by a wide variety of private health insurance companies, healthcare systems, and other healthcare stakeholders as well as Medicare and other government healthcare programs. While bundled payment is, with the advent of the Affordable Care Act, mandatory under some circumstances, for most providers these arrangements are still optional. If you're on the fence about these plans, here are 3 important reasons why participation in bundled payment programs may just make sense for your practice.
Bundled Payments Can Benefit Your Patients
Bundled payments create a strong incentive for providers to collaborate more closely in the care of each patient. That means that, with bundled payment arrangements, you're very likely to see more cooperation and communication from other providers who are involved in the care of your patients. This will benefit your patients in terms of better care coordination and follow-up, which can significantly improve patient outcomes and satisfaction as well as reduce the risk of complications and/or hospital admissions/readmissions during an episode of care.
Rewards for Efficiency and Quality Can Benefit Your Bottom Line
Increased cooperation and collaboration with other providers participating in bundled payments with your practice can benefit your bottom line as well. For instance, better communication and care coordination can significantly reduce costs by eliminating inefficiencies in the care process, such as redundant testing or treatment conflicts.
Improved care coordination can also work to better ensure that crucial details of care and follow-up aren't lost in the shuffle between providers – a problem that often contributes to factors like complications and hospital admissions/readmissions that inflate costs and increase the risk of poor patient outcomes. Reducing costs while meeting benchmarks for quality and efficiency of care leads to greater financial rewards for providers under bundled payment arrangements.
Bundled Payments are the Leading Edge of the Shift to Value-Based Healthcare
Big changes are underway in the healthcare landscape as the industry moves towards a value-based approach to patient care. A key aspect of that patient-centered approach is a shift to payment models that, unlike the traditional fee-for-service model, work to reward quality of care rather than quantity of care.
Bundled payments are the leading edge of that shift, structured to create incentives for improving the quality and efficiency of the care delivered to patients while aiding in containing or lowering the costs of that care. What that means for the average care provider is that bundled payment programs are not going away. In fact, they are gaining traction in the healthcare industry and their use will continue to grow, so getting on top of that trend early – while participation is still largely optional – makes better sense for your practice than playing catch-up in the future.