The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 32, Issue 8, 2332 - 2338

Effect of Risk Acceptance for Bundled Care Payments on Clinical Outcomes in a High-Volume Total Joint Arthroplasty Practice After Implementation of a Standardized Clinical Pathway

Kee, James R. et al.
Hip Knee


The Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) initiative and the Arkansas Payment Improvement (API) initiative seek to incentivize reduced costs and improved outcomes compared with the previous fee-for-service model. Before participation, our practice initiated a standardized clinical pathway (CP) to reduce length of stay (LOS), readmissions, and discharge to postacute care facilities.


This practice implemented a standardized CP focused on patient education, managing patient expectations, and maximizing cost outcomes. We retrospectively reviewed all primary total joint arthroplasty patients during the initial 2-year “at risk” period for both BPCI and API and determined discharge disposition, LOS, and readmission rate.


During the “at risk” period, the average LOS decreased in our total joint arthroplasty patients and our patients discharged home >94%. Patients within the BPCI group had a decreased discharge to home and decreased readmission rates after total hip arthroplasty, but also tended to be older than both API and nonbundled payment patients.


While participating in the BPCI and API, continued use of a standardized CP in a high-performing, high-volume total joint practice resulted in maintenance of a low-average LOS. In addition, BPCI patients had similar outcomes after total knee arthroplasty, but had decreased rates of discharge to home and readmission after total hip arthroplasty.

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