Such payment regimes are a critical part of the now-affirmed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but at this stage there are only pilots.
The current one, which will last for three years, with a possible two-year extension, is just a first step. But clearly, Medicare and even some innovative commercial insurers are experimenting with bundled payments in the belief that they will reduce the overall cost of care for patients.
As a result, many hospitals, health systems, and other providers will at least learn how they would likely fare under such a radical departure from traditional fee-for-service payment regimes. Yes, it will be at least three years before Medicare's bundled payment program can be thoroughly evaluated, but senior healthcare leaders with an eye toward their organizations' long-term viability should themselves test and evaluate how such a payment methodology would affect their bottom line.