Effectiveness of a Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Program for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

J Gen Intern Med. 2023 Sep;38(12):2662-2670. doi: 10.1007/s11606-023-08249-6. Epub 2023 Jun 20.


Background: The Medicare Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) program reimburses 90-day care episodes post-hospitalization. COPD is a leading cause of early readmissions making it a target for value-based payment reform.

Objective: Evaluate the financial impact of a COPD BPCI program.

Design, participants, interventions: A single-site retrospective observational study evaluated the impact of an evidence-based transitions of care program on episode costs and readmission rates, comparing patients hospitalized for COPD exacerbations who received versus those who did not receive the intervention.

Main measures: Mean episode costs and readmissions.

Key results: Between October 2015 and September 2018, 132 received and 161 did not receive the program, respectively. Mean episode costs were below target for six out of eleven quarters for the intervention group, as opposed to only one out of twelve quarters for the control group. Overall, there were non-significant mean savings of $2551 (95% CI: - $811 to $5795) in episode costs relative to target costs for the intervention group, though results varied by index admission diagnosis-related group (DRG); there were additional costs of $4184 per episode for the least-complicated cohort (DRG 192), but savings of $1897 and $1753 for the most complicated index admissions (DRGs 191 and 190, respectively). A significant mean decrease of 0.24 readmissions per episode was observed in 90-day readmission rates for intervention relative to control. Readmissions and hospital discharges to skilled nursing facilities were factors of higher costs (mean increases of $9098 and $17,095 per episode respectively).

Conclusions: Our COPD BPCI program had a non-significant cost-saving effect, although sample size limited study power. The differential impact of the intervention by DRG suggests that targeting interventions to more clinically complex patients could increase the financial impact of the program. Further evaluations are needed to determine if our BPCI program decreased care variation and improved quality of care.

Primary source of funding: This research was supported by NIH NIA grant #5T35AG029795-12.

Keywords: bundled Payment Care Initiative; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; medicare; quality of health care; readmissions.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Diagnosis-Related Groups
  • Hospitalization
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Medicare
  • Patient Care Bundles*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive* / therapy
  • United States / epidemiology