Medicare's bundled payments cut joint replacement spending by 1.6% — 5 study takeaways

Written by Angie Stewart | January 07, 2020 | Print  |

Researchers found that Medicare's voluntary bundled payments for joint replacement surgery lowered spending without compromising quality, Health Affairs reports.

Five takeaways:

1. Given that lower extremity joint replacement is the highest-volume episode in both the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative and BPCI Advanced, researchers evaluated the program's long-term impact on outcomes and what influences improvements.

2. Compared to no participation, participation in BPCI was linked to a 1.6 percent decrease in average spending on a lower extremity joint replacement episode over a three-year period.

3. There were no differences in quality.

4. Early participation drove decreases in spending.

5. Patient selection accounted for 27 percent of cost savings.

The findings "have important policy implications in view of BPCI Advanced and its two participation waves," the researchers said.

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