A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that bundled payments for joint replacements can cut costs by up to 20.8 percent without hurting patients’ medical outcomes.
Researchers used Medicare claims to analyze 3,924 lower-extremity-joint replacement procedures at San Antonio-based Baptist Health System between July 2008 and June 2015. The patients took part in CMS’s voluntary Acute Care Episodes and Bundled Payments for Care Improvement demonstration projects.Among the findings:
- The system achieved on average $5,577 in savings per joint-replacement episode.
- During a seven-year period, Baptist Health System cut average Medicare costs by 20.8 percent for 3,738 joint replacements without complications.
- For 204 episodes with complications, Medicare episode outlays fell an average 13.8 percent.
- Episodes that required prolonged lengths of stay fell 67 percent.
- Study researchers projected that if every hospital used the Baptist bundled-payment model, Medicare could save $2 billion a year.
For the study, researchers used Medicare claims to analyze 3,924 lower-extremity-joint-replacement procedures at San Antonio-based Baptist Health System between July 2008 and June 2015. The patients participated in CMS’s voluntary Acute Care Episodes and Bundled Payments for Care Improvement demonstration projects.