March 1, 2017 – By Nick Bluhm, Director of Strategy & Government Policy at Remedy Partners
When Secretary Price said “people have coverage, but they don’t have care,” he underscored his commitment to one of the core values of bundled payments: patient-centered care. Dr. Price believes that “patients and doctors should be in control of healthcare”; which is why he does not support mandatory pilot programs.” He understands that providers need flexibility, not dictations, to accommodate the needs of their patients.
Dr. Price knows that physicians will need Medicare to accommodate their diverse, local needs in designing payment models. Notably, Secretary Price sees value in voluntary pilot programs, especially the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative (BPCI). During his confirmation hearing, Secretary Price expressed support for voluntary bundled payment models and highlighted the role of the CMS Innovation Center in sponsoring pilot programs, saying that “for certain patients, bundled payments make a lot of sense.”
Expansion and extension of the framework of the BPCI initiative could create a more competitive and long-term approach to bundled payments. Voluntary models should be agnostic to the sponsoring provider; physician groups, post-acute providers and third-party risk-bearing entities have proven highly successful in government and private sector bundled payment programs. For instance, Accountable Care Organizations can use voluntary bundled payments to improve relationships with hospital-based physicians and integrate acute care management into their population health strategy.