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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2014 Jan;472(1):188-93. doi: 10.1007/s11999-013-3034-3.

Bundled payments in total joint arthroplasty: targeting opportunities for quality improvement and cost reduction.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, 500 Parnassus, MU 320 W, San Francisco, CA, 94143-0728, USA,



Understanding the type and magnitude of services that patients receive postdischarge and the financial impact of readmissions is crucial to assessing the feasibility of accepting bundled payments.


The purposes of this study were to (1) determine the cost and service components of a 30-day total joint arthroplasty (TJA) episode of care; (2) analyze the portion of the total payment that is used for postdischarge services, including home care; and (3) to evaluate the frequency of readmissions and their impact on total episode-of-care payments.


All payments to Medicare providers (hospitals, postacute care facilities, physicians, and other healthcare providers) for services beginning with the index procedure and extending 30-days postdischarge were analyzed for 250 Medicare beneficiaries undergoing primary or revision TJA from a single institution over a 12 months. Payments and services were aggregated by procedure type and categorized as index procedure, postacute care, and related hospital readmissions.


Mean episode-of-care payments ranged from USD 25,568 for primary TJA in patients with no comorbidities to USD 50,648 for revision TJA in patients with major comorbidities or complications, with wide variability within and across procedures. Postdischarge payments accounted for 36% of total payments. A total of 49% of patients were transferred to postacute care facilities, accounting for 70% of postdischarge payments. The overall 30-day unplanned readmission rate was 10%, accounting for 11% of postdischarge payments.


Episode-of-care payments for TJAs vary widely depending on the type of procedure, patient comorbidities and complications, discharge disposition, and readmission rates. Postdischarge care accounted for more than one-third of total episode payments and varied substantially across patients and procedures.

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