Bundled payments are the missing element from many organizations' toolkit for driving quality improvement. That was the theme emerging from the discussions taking place at the 2017 National Bundled Payment Summit in Arlington, VA on June 26 - 28th.
On Monday, faculty member Nick Bluhm, Remedy’s Director of Strategy and Government Policy, explained how the Merit-based Incentive Payment System does not provide adequate financial support for physicians to align business and clinical models. The performance bonuses are looking skimpier by the year and may not serve as a realistic basis for financing care redesign. Instead, he expects the next version of the Medicare bundled payment model, expected to be rolled out in 2018, to serve as a catalyst for specialists and hospital-based physicians to meet these quality and financial demands.
On Tuesday, our Chief Medical Officer Win Whitcomb explored how bundled payments promote care redesign during acute illness, care transitions, and the recovery phase. He charted the detailed journey of a frail, vulnerable grandmother experiencing a hospital stay and post-acute recovery. Dr. Whitcomb described the essential building blocks of effective bundle programs:care models fostering early mobility, goals of care conversations, a process for determining the optimal post-discharge location, and the use of post-acute performance networks.
On Wednesday, our Chief Financial Officer Chris Garcia shared the stage with MaryBeth Pace, a clinical leader with Remedy's partner, Trinity Health. They discussed how accountable care organizations and bundled payment initiatives can and should co-exist. Population health leaders benefit from engaging specialists when patients experience acute episodes of care. Ms. Pace and Mr. Garcia agreed that as primary care physicians and hospital-based physicians increasingly sponsor alternative payment models, communication is paramount for building close relationships and achieving the goals of coordinated care.
In a keynote address, Dr. Chris Ritter, the Medicare official overseeing bundled payment models, informed participants to expect "the advanced voluntary bundled payment model in 2018," as CMMI is seeking final approval to roll out this model.
We at Remedy feel that whether you are a multi-specialty group sponsoring an ACO or a hospital helping your employed physicians navigate Medicare's Quality Payment Program, bundled payments can be a key catalyst for achieving your organization's quality and efficiency goals. We look forward to helping organizations succeed with the continuation of Medicare's voluntary bundled payment program.