The Health Care Authority (HCA) is committed to moving forward with a push on value-based purchasing, including implementing payment bundles for its state employee program and possibly for Medicaid. Now is the time to provide feedback to the HCA as it considers where the program should head in the future. HCA is anticipating another bundled episode to be implemented starting in 2019. HCA is soliciting comments through a Request for Information (RFI) process. Responses are due by June 15 (not May 21 as previously listed in Fiscal Watch).
Last year, the HCA implemented a payment bundle for total hip and knee replacement and selected Virginia Mason Medical Center as the center of excellence. Several Washington hospitals expressed concerns about the process, in terms of the limited time frame for responses, the selection of only one hospital to provide services and the impact on access to care in rural areas.
In response to the concerns, HCA has taken a more deliberative approach as it considers expanding the program, and it is seeking input. Many of the questions in the RFI ask about the types of episodes that hospitals are currently offering. WSHA believes, though, it is very important for hospitals without any bundles to complete this questionnaire as well and discuss both barriers to bundles and unanticipated consequences to bundles. Jacqueline Barton True will discuss rural issues in more detail on upcoming WSHA CEO calls. (Claudia Sanders)