U.S. Government Wants Medicare Payments Bundled To Save Money

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid are attempting to bundle payments for multiple medical procedures in the hopes of lowering payments by creating four new bundled payments models.

Under the program hospitals, doctors and other specialists will be encouraged to coordinate their patient’s treatment during a single hospital stay and recovery, a maneuver that would lower each patients medicare cost.

During a press call with reporters Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said of the plan:

“Today Medicare pays for care in the wrong way,” while adding, “Payments are based on the quantity of care, and not on the quality of that care,” and “There is little financial incentive for the kind of care coordination that can help patients from returning to the hospital.”

The four model approach will allow providers to determine which services they offer and how they get paid, adding financial incentives if they avoid duplicate procedures or unnecessary protocols.

While the program could leave doctors with less money overall, the bundled payment system could ultimately provide them with more covered costs for coordinating their efforts.

Administrator Donald Berwick of the CMS innovation Center said in a statement:

“From a patient perspective … you want your doctors to collaborate more closely with your physical therapist, your pharmacist and your family caregivers,” CMS Administrator Donald Berwick said in a statement. “But that sort of common sense practice is hard to achieve without a payment system that supports coordination over fragmentation.”

It’s still unclear how the program will effect nearly 45 million elderly and disabled Americans who are enrolled in Medicare plans, however the move has become more of a necessity as Congress continues to find ways to shed extra weight from the U.S. deficit by their November deadline.

This newest maneuver to the $427 billion Medicaid plan is not likely to be the last attempt to trim fat as the program is controlled at the state level but overseen by the Federal government.

I personally like the idea of a one-stop fixes everything Medicare approach, especially in the elderly since their bodies can become increasingly weakened by numerous recovery times. What do you think of the new bundled plans idea?