Payment bundling could be answer to skyrocketing healthcare costs, article says

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Payment bundling—expanded beyond its currently proposed form—could be one of the best ways to reduce healthcare spending costs, according to a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The potential cost savings of payment bundling is just 0.05% of total healthcare spending, or $19 billion over the next decade, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates. But those estimates are based solely on bundling payments for hospital and post-acute care. By expanding the policy and bundling payment for all services related to six chronic conditions and four acute conditions or procedures requiring hospitalization, healthcare spending could be cut by as much as 5.4% between 2010 and 2019, the article says. Nursing home associations have reacted favorably toward demonstration projects regarding payment bundling that are in healthcare reform legislation.

Report authors looked at several other potential cost saving programs, but those proposals only yielded potential savings of between 0.3% and 2%. Payment bundling, they concluded, was the best way to control healthcare spending, though they also noted that none of the options have a strong history of reducing spending in full-scale national implementation. The article is titled “Controlling U.S. Health Care Spending — Separating Promising from Unpromising Approaches.”