Bundled care payment models can be very beneficial to your practice and your patients, provided your venture into these arrangements is well thought out and efficiently managed. Perhaps the most important thing to know as you prepare to align with this relatively new value-based payment model is that you'll need strong leadership and solid strategies to meet the cost control and quality benchmarks that are built into bundled payment plans. Among the most important points to consider as you strive to make the most of the bundled payment model, consider the following.
Accurate Tracking of Costs
This is essential not only to the preparation phase of aligning with bundled payments, but also to implementation. As you prepare to adopt bundled payments, whether you will be participating in CMS initiatives or private bundled payment models, having a detailed accounting of the overall costs associated with various episodes of care is very necessary in choosing viable bundling options. That means you'll need to spend a significant amount of time examining the costs of prior procedures and treatments in more minute detail than ever before in order to ensure that the bundled payment plans you adopt work to the best advantage of your practice and your patients.
A clear, accurate appraisal of your historical costs is also extremely important in negotiating appropriate pricing in bundling agreements, as well as in identifying cost-cutting strategies, setting realistic short- and long-term cost-efficiency goals, and tracking progress towards those goals over time.
Developing Solid – and Transparent – Partnerships With Top-Notch Providers
If you intend to align your practice with other participating providers in one or several bundled payments models, developing solid relationships based on transparency, cooperation, and a shared vision for improving care and containing costs is key to your success. Why is this so important? Because every link in the chain of care, throughout each episode of care, has the potential to affect the overall success of your venture.
For instance, if you are a surgical practice bundling joint replacement procedures, poor performance from a post-acute care partner can lead to sub-standard patient outcomes, higher complication rates, and/or more frequent re-hospitalizations, impacting your ability to meet required cost-efficiency and quality-of-care benchmarks. Locating top-notch partners and laying the groundwork for solid working relationships should be done sooner rather than later – preferably well before your practice enters into its first bundling arrangement.
As is made clear by the points above, there are risks and potential downsides to adopting bundled payments. However, taking the time to thoroughly prepare your practice and your provider partners for the transition can greatly minimize them, paving the way for you – and your patients – to reap the many potential benefits of this value-based payment model.