Hospitalists recommend changes to 'bundled payment' model

A think tank made up of hospitalist groups has released a white paper suggesting some changes to the emerging bundled payment model for episodes of care. Generally speaking, they're arguing for CMS to wait until there's some real-world evidence on what works with bundled payment before rolling into reform.

The organization, the Phoenix Group, argues that policymakers should pay close attention to the results of HHS's Acute Care Episode (ACE) Demonstration project, which is testing the effect of bundling Part A and Part B payments for care episodes. ACE is focused on providing global payments for selected orthopedic and cardiovascular inpatient procedures.

To better align the interests of physicians and hospitals, the group is recommending that CMS look at ways to make the fee-for-service more DRG-specific and better oriented to cooperation; CMS continue to make payments, rather than hospitals or health plans; public health experts wait until the ACE project concludes, and study the results, before adding bundles to health reform; and when possible, include post-acute care to ACE demonstration sites.

To learn more about these recommendations:
- read this Phoenix Group press release
- read the white paper (.pdf)