100 Home Health Agencies Participate In Bundled Payment Program

More than 100 home health agencies are participating in the second phase of a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) initiative aimed at bundling payments to streamline care from different providers, putting themselves at financial risk by doing so.

The so-called Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative, an approach that groups payments for multiple services during a single episode of care, kicked off under the Affordable Care Act with the goal of establishing higher quality and better coordinated care for beneficiaries at a lower cost to Medicare. 

One-hundred one home health agencies were partaking in Phase 2 of the initiative as of July 1, CMS recently announced.

Phase 2 denotes retrospective bundled payment arrangements for two sets of services, the first of which includes the initial inpatient stay, the post-acute period and readmissions, while the second includes just the post-acute period and readmissions.

The phase also prospectively arranges a single bundled payment to the hospital for services rendered during the entire inpatient stay and readmissions. 

The first phase of the bundled payments initiative served as a probationary period without putting providers at financial risk. Now, providers in phase 2 will bear financial risk based on quality of care and cost-effectiveness.

Usually, Medicare makes separate payments to providers for the services administered to beneficiaries during a single course of treatment.

As the second phase is implemented, CMS plans to work with participants to evaluate the payment model’s effectiveness in terms of improved patient care and lower Medicare costs, according to an agency announcement.

Written by Kourtney Liepelt