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One Hospital's Recipe for Bundled-Payment Success

By Christopher Cheney  
   July 27, 2017

The primary elements of UnityPoint Health Meriter Hospital's bundled-payment model are care navigators, relationships with cost-effective skilled nursing facilities, and a robust home-health capability.

This story was originally published in September, 2015.

Over the past five years, federal officials have targeted hospital readmission rates, including payment penalties for conditions such as heart failure and pneumonia in the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP).

The HRRP penalties have spurred change, says Jeffrey Brenner, MD, executive director of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, a nonprofit organization working to improve population health and promote value-based care in one of New Jersey's most disadvantaged communities.

"This is the most exciting moment of my career. Partly because of readmissions penalties, people are having discussions they have never had before," he says.

From 2007 to 2011, the all-cause 30-day hospital readmission rate for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries held steady at about 19% to 19.5%, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The Medicare FFS beneficiaries readmissions rate fell to 18.5% in 2012 and 17.5% in 2013.

"When everything is said and done, the whole health system is going to look different," Brenner says of initiatives such as HRRP that are accelerating efforts among healthcare providers to build more seamless care continuums, improve care coordination, establish community partnerships, and engage patients to set and achieve their health goals.


Christopher Cheney is the senior clinical care​ editor at HealthLeaders.

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