Value-based care and orthopedics: What to know


The popularity of value-based care is growing across healthcare, and orthopedic and spine care are no exceptions. 

This year, several prominent organizations, including OrthoCarolina and OrthoAlliance, have launched value-based partnerships to provide better patient care. 

According to a Nov. 15 report from payer Humana, the number of patients receiving value-based care has grown by 2.3 million over the last decade. 

The study also found that value-based care lowers costs and improves outcomes for Medicare Advantage patients. 

Value-based care models reimburse physicians for the quality of care they provide, rather than the quantity of patients they see. 

Humana looked at data; research; analysis; and patient, member and physician testimonials on value-based care to compare it to traditional fee-for-service models. 

While some orthopedic surgeons have expressed their enthusiasm about a shift to value-based care, some are still not so sure. 

"Although U.S. healthcare largely continues to operate in a fee-for-service model, many of the investments by the big retailers are emphasizing value-based care — which theoretically could lead to a concentrated focus on prioritizing preventive care," Philip Louie, MD, spine surgeon at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health in Tacoma, Wash., told Becker's. "From an orthopedic surgery perspective, the verdict is still out. How will patients be properly worked up and referred? How will these retailers improve access to orthopedic surgeons — moreso, how will they choose which orthopedic practices to send their patients to? There will be a new push to demonstrate quality of care and maximizing outcomes — a la Center of Excellence Programs."

Other surgeons, including Louis Levitt, MD, vice president of the Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics in Bethesda, Md., are more excited about a value-based approach to care. 

"Millennials are also influencing the shift away from fee-for-service medicine," Dr. Levitt told Becker's. "This new value-based approach leads to more efficient medicine, reduced costs and better, evidence-based outcomes."

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