The CMS announced the launch of a new demonstration project to test if using bundled payments to hospitals and physicians for acute-care episodes can improve the efficiency and quality of care delivered for 28 cardiac and nine orthopedic inpatient surgical services.
In a news release, the CMS acknowledged the current system of separate payments to hospitals and physicians can lead to conflicting incentives that may affect decisions about what care will be provided.
Bundled paymentsa method in which payments for episodes of care would be shared by both the hospital and the doctors involved in delivering the carewere among the recommendations (Print subscription required) the CMS received last month from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.
The demonstration is open to applicants from Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. The CMS has pledged to actively market selected sites as value-based care centers to both beneficiaries and referring physicians, and testing the impact of transparent price and quality information on these two groups is another stated goal of the project.
The project is also designed to provide opportunities to improve the quality of coordination of care among specialties, and implement gainsharing, which allows physicians and hospitals to receive financial rewards from the savings achieved through increased efficiency.
The services included in the study were selected because profit margins and volume have historically been high; there is sufficient marketplace competition to ensure interested demonstration applicants; the services are easy to specify, and quality metrics are available for them, the news release said. -- by Andis Robeznieks
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