The evidence on all of those cool new ways of delivering and paying for health care — the ones that were supposed to save money and improve quality like bundled payments — are kind of “meh." But a team of health care experts led by Len Nichols, director of the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics at George Mason University, writes in the Health Affairs blog that it's too early to give up on these models.
What's on the line: Accountable care organizations, care coordination, patient-centered medical homes, and bundled payments. (ACOs and bundled payments are newer ways to pay for care, while patient-centered medical homes are supposed to improve the delivery of care by creating teams of providers to meet patients' needs.)
Reasons to keep models: The team suggested various reasons why the mediocre results shouldn't be the end of the road:
- Improvements take time.
- Not all patients need the improvements now, so better to focus on the ones who do.
- There could still be savings in unexpected places.
- The small savings are still something — and "more robust cost reduction strategies“ may do better.