Though Obamacare Pays Less, Providers Flock To 'Bundled' Medicare Payments
Though Obamacare Pays Less, Providers Flock To 'Bundled' Medicare Payments Bruce Japsen
The Obama administration says more than 500 hospitals and related health care organizations have agreed to be paid "bundled payments" as part of a three-year initiative to lower costs and improve quality in the Medicare program for seniors. In yet another blow to traditional fee-for-service medicine where doctors and hospitals are paid for each service provided for each patient’s illness or course of treatment, the Obama administration says more than 500 hospitals and related health care organizations have agreed to be paid “bundled payments” as part of a three-year initiative.
The payment method, which means medical-care providers will receive somewhat less money for an “episode of care,” is an initiative under the Affordable Care Act that will be tested over the next three years to see if bundling payments can lower the costs of the Medicare health insurance program for the elderly. Meanwhile, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services hopes the more than 500 organizations that will soon begin participating in the effort will provide more coordinated medical care for seniors.
“This is huge and this is historic,” Jonathan Blum, a deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said of the large number of providers participating in the bundled payment initiative. “This is a huge scale.”
The program works by bundling Medicare payments for services seniors would receive during an “episode of care” such as a surgical procedure that would put them in a hospital. The bundled payments encourage “hospitals, physicians, post-acute facilities, and other providers as applicable to work together to improve health outcomes and lower costs,” the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid said in a statement.