UnitedHealthcare's bundled payment program cuts readmissions 22%

UnitedHealthcare's bundled payment program for knee, hip and spine procedures has generated about $18 million in employer savings across 115 employers.

The health insurer's Spine and Joint Solution led to a 22 percent reduction in hospital readmissions and a 17 percent decrease in complications for patients undergoing joint replacement surgeries, when compared to facilities not participating in the program.

The solution was developed with UnitedHealth Group's subsidiary Optum. UnitedHealthcare is the insurer arm of UnitedHealth, and reimburses participating providers and facilities under its bundled payment program by paying for an entire episode of care.

To date, the Spine and Joint Solution spans 46 providers and 3 million employees. Through the program, employers have saved an average of $18,000 per operation, when compared with median costs in the same city. For employees, out-of-pocket savings averaged more than $3,000 per procedure, according to the insurer.

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