Obamacare seeks to reduce medical costs by 700 billion between 2013 and 2022. One of the ways the federal government plans to do that is through bundled Medicare payments.

ObamacareThe system removes the fee for service model and replaces it with a bundled plan for inpatient hospital stays and post discharge services.

Clinicians who don’t participate in bundled payment options will lose patients and revenues to competitors who do.

Bundling For Savings

One-fifth of the funding for Obamacare comes through savings obtained by reducing Medicare reimbursements, reducing the length of hospital stays and readmission rates, and bundling payments.

There’s also a push for in-home care to reduce expenses.

The Bundled Payment for Care Improvement Initiative was launched on Jan. 31, 2013 to grade the financial and treatment performance for patient care episodes utilizing a team care model.

With bundled payments, a team of healthcare professionals oversee a patient’s care and a dollar amount for reimbursement is assigned. The team is responsible for providing the patient with needed treatment, while remaining within the monetary target.

Teams are rewarded financially for accomplishing their goals. Clinicians that don’t choose to participate will lose the most as fees are cut.

Working With IPAB

The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) is a 15-member panel appointed by the president and charged with the task of finding ways to reduce medical costs. Any recommendations made by the board automatically become law unless Congress chooses to overrule.

The board is a more powerful version of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.

There’s a big push by Obamacare to identify and evaluate treatment methods that are efficient and cost-effective. One of those techniques is by providing in-home care that employs technology to monitor a patient’s state of health in the home instead of at a hospital or care facility.

Depending on the type of monitoring being conducted, readings could be transmitted to a practitioner’s office electronically or could include home visits by a healthcare professional.

ObamacareThe bundled care initiative was designed to reduce costs among Medicare patients.

Unfortunately, it will also limit reimbursement revenues for clinicians who choose to offer independent care at their practice and not participate in a physician team for bundled care.

As the pressure to reduce costs associated with Medicare patients continues to increase, many medical professionals will find their choices are limited.

There are options, but all are untenable for those in private practice.

Clinicians can choose not to join a healthcare team, lose patients to competitors who are part of a team, become resigned to a reduction in Medicare payments, accept bundled payments and reduced revenues, or stop seeing Medicare patients at all. The choices clinicians make will have a dramatic and long lasting impact on their patients and practice.