Bundled Payments for Joint Replacements Cuts Costs for Medicare; Hospitals Held Accountable for Quality of Care

Clinical laboratories must stay informed about the success of bundled-payment initiatives because they will need to negotiate a share of these payments where medical laboratory testing is involved

Research published this year concluded that bundled payments for joint replacement services performed on Medicare patients reduce Medicare’s costs without negatively affecting patient outcomes. Because these types of surgeries do not generally utilize many lab tests, the question is still out as to whether bundled payments allow clinical laboratories to be adequately reimbursed for their services.

The study of the bundled payment program was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The researchers sought to determine the cause of the reduction in Medicare payments and hospital savings when bundled payment models for joint replacement surgeries were used.

The research was performed by staff at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn). They examined hospital costs and Medicare claims for patients requiring hip and knee replacements at the 5-hospital Baptist Health System (BHS) in San Antonio.  (more…)