Many physicians I work with are talking about the possibility of new payment models such as bundled payments, episode-of-care payments and Accountable Care Organization (ACO) payment models. However, few medical practices have given much thought to how such payment models might actually work for them. Many physicians are still mired in the "fee-for-service" mindset and "productivity" is still a key buzzword among physician partners in most private practices. But, as evidenced by a recent article published by AISHealth, these new payment models (which could be fantastic opportunities for the right practices) are closer than you might think. According to the AISHealth article, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is set to begin a pilot program with five orthopedic practices for bundled total-joint replacement payments.
The payors in your market may not yet be ready to start offering these types of payment programs, but the smart money will on those practices that have given some thought to what payors are looking for and how they would respond if the opportunities are presented. Even smarter money will bet on the practices that have figured out how they can save payors money and are actively seeking to create alternative payment opportunities with their payors. If you haven’t already done so, consider establishing a physician committee within your practice to begin exploring ways in which you might take advantage of these coming opportunities. They will be here before you know it.