The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 34, Issue 7, 1317 - 1321.e2

Bundled Payments Are Effective in Reducing Costs Following Bilateral Total Joint Arthroplasty

Rondon, Alexander J. et al.
Hip Knee

Background

Alternative payment models such the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) initiative have been effective in reducing costs following unilateral total hip (THA) and knee arthroplasty (TKA), but few studies exist on bilateral arthroplasty. This study aimed to determine whether the BPCI program for bilateral THA and TKA reduced episode-of-care costs.

Methods

We retrospectively reviewed a consecutive series of patients who underwent simultaneous bilateral primary THA and TKA between 2015 and 2016. We recorded demographic variables, comorbidities, readmissions, and calculated 90-day episode-of-care costs based on Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services claims data. We compared data from patients before and after the start of our BPCI program, and performed a multivariate analysis to identify independent risk factors for increased costs.

Results

Of 319 patients, 38 underwent bilateral THA (12%) while 287 underwent bilateral TKA (88%). There were 239 patients (74%) in the bundled payment group. Although there was no change in readmission rate (9% vs 8%), the post-BPCI group demonstrated reduced hospital costs ($21,251 vs $18,783), post–acute care costs ($15,488 vs $12,439), and overall 90-day episode-of-care costs ($39,733 vs $34,305). When controlling for demographics, procedure, and comorbidities, our BPCI model demonstrated a per-patient reduction of $5811 in overall claims costs. Additional risk factors for increased episode-of-care costs included age ($516/y increase) and cardiac disease ($5916).

Conclusion

Our bundled payment program for bilateral THA and TKA was successful with reduction in 90-day episode-of-care costs without placing the patient at higher risk of readmission. Older Medicare beneficiaries and those with cardiac disease should likely not undergo a simultaneous bilateral procedure due to concerns about increased costs.

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