Leading Cancer Center Pilots Extensive Value-Based Payment Plan
By Lisa D. Ellis
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston has always been on the cutting edge when it comes to providing high quality care. For the past 25 years, this multi-disciplinary facility has been ranked in the top two cancer centers in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Hospitals” survey. Now, MD Anderson is building on its reputation to break new ground again—piloting a new, bundled payment plan in conjunction with United Healthcare for a select group of patients newly diagnosed with head and neck cancers.
Bundled Payments: Sign of the Future?
Unlike the current fee-for-service payments that require oversight from insurers, value-based payment models grant control to physicians and their patients while also making them accountable for outcomes.
Thomas W. Feeley, who leads the Institute for Cancer Care Innovation at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, points out that this set-payment program, which may hold the answer to help reform the healthcare payment system in the future, tests the premise that simplifying reimbursements into a one-price design encourages provider groups and hospitals to be more efficient, and rewards high quality, while giving patients a voice in their own treatment decisions and care.
While the MD Anderson/United Healthcare collaboration is one of the largest such value-focused payment models being used in a clinical setting, Feeley says it’s also representative of a growing trend of setting bundled payments in an attempt to encourage and reward health care organizations for providing high-quality, cost-efficient care.
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