A Payment Model That Prevents Unnecessary Medical Treatment

As payers and providers in the U.S. health care system shift from fee for service to value-based approaches that pay providers for quality, they are turning to two models: One is procedure- and DRG-based bundled payments that pay one price for all the care related to treating a condition. The other is population-based “global” or “capitated” payments” such as accountable care organizations in which a provider is paid a fixed amount to cover all of a patient’s health needs for a specified period of time. The Center for Orthopedic Research and Education (or CORE Institute) — a group of musculoskeletal, neurologic, and rehabilitative physicians in Arizona and Michigan that includes orthopedic, spine, and pain-management physicians and a number of other types of clinicians — is pioneering an approach that represents a middle ground. It addresses a central criticism of bundled payments: that the approach doesn’t prevent unnecessary care.

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