Hospitals have demonstrated the benefits of both voluntary and mandatory bundled payments for joint replacement surgery. However, given generalizability and disparities concerns, it is critical to understand the availability of care through bundled payments to historically marginalized groups, such as racial and ethnic minorities and individuals with lower socioeconomic status (SES). This cross-sectional analysis of 3880 US communities evaluated the relationship between the proportion of Black and Hispanic individuals (minority share) or Medicare/Medicaid dual-eligible individuals (low SES share) and community-level participation in Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative (BPCI) (being a BPCI community) and Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) model (being a CJR community). An increase from the lowest to highest quartile of minority share was not associated with differences in the probability of being a BPCI community (3.5 percentage point [pp] difference, 95% confidence interval [CI] -1.2% to 8.3%, P = 0.15), but was associated with a 16.1 pp higher probability of being a CJR community (95% CI 10.3% to 22.0%, P < 0.0001). An increase from the lowest to highest quartile of low SES share was associated with a 6.0 pp lower probability of being a BPCI community (95% CI -10.9% to -1.2%, P = 0.02) and 19.0 pp lower probability of being a CJR community (95% CI -24.9% to -13.0%, P < 0.0001). These findings highlight that the greater the proportion of lower SES individuals in a community, the lower the likelihood that its hospitals participated in either voluntary or mandatory bundled payments. Policymakers should consider community socioeconomic characteristics when designing participation mechanisms for future bundled payment programs.
Keywords: Medicare; bundled payments; health disparities; health equity.