CMS recently announced a new version of its bundled payments program, with more incentives to participate. Doctors can qualify for higher payments under MACRA, an advantage for hospitals looking to affiliate with physician groups.
Primary care physicians get the carrot when CMS incentivizes reduced readmissions and population health, while hospitals get the stick for the same goals. Nevertheless, hospitals and health systems should benefit from physicians joining the effort.
Health plans face challenges such as an influx of people into Medicare and more pressure to participate in risk-based contracts. The uncertainty that complicated health plan strategies in 2017 will continue this year and could accelerate.