Bundled payments can reduce per-patient episode of care costs for total joint patients by $5K+, study finds: 3 details

A bundled payment program can lower 90-day episode of care costs for Medicare patients undergoing total hip and knee arthroplasty, according to research published in the Journal of Arthroplasty.

Researchers studied 319 patients — 38 underwent total hip arthroplasty while 287 underwent bilateral total knee arthroplasty. There were 239 patients in the bundled payment group.

The key details to know:

1. The bundled payment group had reduced hospital costs ($21,251 vs. $18,783), post-acute care costs ($13,488 vs. $12,439) and overall 90-day episode of care costs ($39,733 vs. $34,305).

2. The bundled payment model was associated with a $5,811 per-patient reduction in episode of care costs.

3. Researchers concluded, "Our bundled payment program for bilateral [total hip arthroplasty] and [total knee arthroplasty] was successful with reduction in 90-day episode-of-care costs without placing the patient at higher risk of readmission. Older Medicare beneficiaries and those with cardiac disease should likely not undergo a simultaneous bilateral procedure due to concerns about increased costs."

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