Physicians should be able to: 1. Describe the concept of bundled payments and the potential applications of bundled payments in orthopedic surgery. 2. For specific situations, outline a clinical episode of care, determine the participants in a bundling situation, and define care protocols and pathways. 3. Recognize the importance of resource utilization management, quality outcome measurement, and combined economic-clinical value in determining the value of bundled payment arrangements. 4. Identify the implications of bundled payments for practicing orthopedists, as well as the legal issues and potential future directions of this increasingly popular alternative payment method. Bundled payments, the idea of paying a single price for a bundle of goods and services, is a financial concept familiar to most American consumers because examples appear in many industries.
The idea of bundled payments has recently gained significant momentum as a financial model with the potential to decrease the significant current costs of health care. Orthopedic surgery as a field of medicine is uniquely positioned for success in an environment of bundled payments. This article reviews the history, logistics, and implications of the bundled payment model relative to orthopedic surgery.