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Bundled Payment Episodes Initiated by Physician Group Practices: Medicare Beneficiary Perceptions of Care Quality

Sean R. McClellan, Matthew J. Trombley, and Andrea Hassol, Abt Global; Jaclyn Marshall, Bind Benefits; Daver C. Kahvecioglu, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; Colleen Kummet, General Dynamics Information Technology; Christine LaRocca, Telligen; Laura Dummit, Lewin Group


July 29, 2021

One of the key goals of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has been to reduce health care costs while maintaining or improving patient outcomes. The article describes how research led by Abt Global, in partnership with CMS and the Lewin Group, finds that physician group practices participating in CMS’s Bundled Payment for Care Improvement (BPCI) initiative did not deliver diminished patient-reported health outcomes. The findings build on previous research that found practices participating in BPCI were, in fact, able to reduce the cost of care. The findings are particularly significant, because the study is one of the first to focus on treatment managed by physician practices (as opposed to hospitals), drawing on over 30,000 survey responses from Medicare beneficiaries.

For this study, Abt researchers surveyed Medicare beneficiaries who were recently hospitalized for conditions such as sepsis, heart failure, and hip and knee replacements. While slightly fewer BPCI patients in this survey reported positive care experiences in three of eight outcomes (relative to those in a matched comparison group), there was no difference between the groups in terms of self-reported functional outcomes. Patients treated by BPCI physicians were just as successful at regaining or improving their mobility and other essential activities of daily living as their counterparts who were not treated by BPCI physicians.

Read more about the BPCI project.