How payers, providers make bundled payments work [Special Report]

Successful bundled payment model requires collaboration, remains "work in progress"

By Brian Eastwood

For many organizations, bundled payments represent an increasingly appealing way to shift high-volume procedures to the value-based care model promoted by healthcare reform. In fact, bundled payments have been described as the gateway to payment reform, as they emphasize high quality and low costs for patients, providers and payers alike.

Building a successful bundled payment program means focusing on the entire episode of care, which requires improved care coordination and, in some cases, better risk management. Not all organizations are ready--the Catalyst for Payment Reform, a nonprofit working with large employers and other purchasers to improve payment models, estimates that bundled payments make up less than 2 percent of all value-based contracts.

It's a slow and complicated path to bundled payment implementation, to be sure, but the organizations that have dipped their toes in the water say they hope to apply the lessons they have learned to additional episodes of care.

This FierceHealthPayer special report explains the basics of bundled payment agreements, identifies some of the most successful use cases for bundled payments, examines the positive impact that bundled payments can have on care delivery and discusses what it will take for bundled payments to spread beyond today's use cases.