How a Global Fee Could Improve Hospital Care and Generate Savings

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<p>The U.S. health care delivery system is rife with examples of missed opportunities and waste. The high rate at which patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge is particularly alarming. In a <a href="/publications/publication/2009/apr/ensuring-accountability-how-global-fee-could-improve-hospital"></a><a href="/publications/publication/2009/apr/ensuring-accountability-how-global-fee-could-improve-hospital">new column</a>, Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis and research associate Kristof Stremikis look at how our provider payment system leads to costly and potentially dangerous readmissions, and how a "global fee" covering a bundle of hospital and post-hospital services has great potential to improve care, reduce complications, and generate savings to finance health reform.</p>
<p>The authors point out that President Obama, The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System, and U.S. Senate Finance Committee chair Max Baucus all recommend bundling hospital payments for inpatient care, as well as post-acute health services following hospitalization, as a way to realign financial incentives to encourage greater care coordination.</p>
<p>"The current health reform debate calls for bold hospital payment reform to enable hospitals, physicians, and post-acute care providers to achieve the best possible outcomes for patients, hold providers accountable for improving care and realizing the potential savings, and reward providers for doing so," the authors say. "This is a win-win strategy."</p>