Medical Bills May Soon Be Easier to Manage

The federal government may now begin to look at medical treatment of the whole patient instead of a piecemeal approach of paying for services rendered.  CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) announced a new module system that providers will be able to offer to patients.  The bundled payment option is a result of the Affordable Care Act and offers a payment structure for the entire team of healthcare providers treating a patient, the providers will then determine how reimbursements are distributed.  According to California Healthline, the models are defined as:

  • Model 1: Only care provided during an acute care hospital stay;
  • Model 2: The acute care hospital stay, plus associated post-acute care;
  • Model 3: Only post-acute care services;
  • Model 4: A single prospective payment that encompasses all services delivered during an inpatient stay (MedPage Today, 8/23).

This approach would benefit patients who receive care from a variety of practitioners, for example someone under the care of a physician, physical therapist, and chiropracter.  Certainly it benefits patients to have all of his or her caregivers on the same page, providing treatment of the whole person and streamlining medical bills, now providers can be rewarded for those efforts.

The incentive is for providers to collaborate and improve patient care. Valinda Rutledge, director of patient care models for the CMS Innovation Center stated “As a former CEO at a hospital that implemented something similar … there is excitement that is around when you talk about eliminating the barriers set up by having separate payments.”

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