Thought Leaders’ Corner: Could Bundled Payments Overtake ACO Shared Savings Models as the Preferred Value-Based Payment Model?

Accountable Care News March 2015

Doug Hastings, Chair Emeritus of the Firm, based in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, authored a thought leadership article discussing accountable care industry trends for 2015 and whether bundled payments could overtake ACO shared savings models as the preferred value-based payment model.

The following appeared in Accountable Care News:

Q. Writing recently in the Health Affairs Blog about five key trends for 2015, Susan DeVore of Premier included ‘Bundled Payment Takeover’ as one of the five. Do you think bundled payments will overtake ACO shared savings models as the preferred value-based payment model of the future?

Doug Hastings wrote:

Susan DeVore’s actual statement is that bundled payments will expand rapidly ‘along with’ ACOs, and I think that she is right. These are different, yet complementary, value-based payment programs, with bundled payments focusing on episodes of care while ACOs focus on the full array of health care services for a population. Medicare and most commercial payers offer opportunities in both types of programs, and many provider organizations are participating in one or both. A bundled payment arrangement is more limited in scope than an ACO, and can arguably be implemented more easily and quickly. Thus, DeVore states that there could be thousands of bundled payment participants in 2015, "making it the most popular value-based payment program in the country." This does not make it a "preferred" model, nor does DeVore assert that. We will continue to test ACOs, bundled payments, and other value-based payment arrangements for years to come. In the long run, the shift away from fee-for-service to population-based payments will require providers to take responsibility for the health of entire populations and thus participate, in some fashion, in arrangements that encompass more than episodes of care.