Dr. Weber and Thomas Feeley, MD, head of MD Anderson’s Institute for Cancer Care Innovation, said that it’s too soon to expect data from the pilot program. But this early on, success comes simply from the effort of trying. “Whether we are achieving cost savings or not, what we’re really trying to test at this point is ‘Can we do this?’”
Dr. Feeley added, “I want to be very clear that this is more feasibility … and we will do the economic analysis. We’re hoping that in doing this all of our head and neck cancer [treatment] achieves the best outcomes at the lowest possible cost for all of the patients.”
The pilot program’s concept is simple: In today’s era of payment reform, where federal reimbursement is increasingly tied to quality and bundled payments rather than the traditional fee-for-service system, MD Anderson and United Healthcare are attempting to determine whether bundling payments up front can lower costs without impacting the quality of care delivery.