Event Preview: Innovation in Medical Plan Design and Cost Savings

The COVID-19 pandemic put everything on pause, but now employers are beginning to restart their businesses and develop recovery strategies for 2021. Part of that planning includes taking a hard look at health benefits for their employees—and considering options to regain control over costs. One way employers are doing this is through direct partnerships with healthcare providers. Research shows that roughly a quarter of employers are considering contracting directly for employee healthcare services. And bundled payments for defined episodes of care represent a common starting point for these innovative relationships.

Vanderbilt Health’s innovative and value-based MyHealth Bundles program helps businesses better manage their benefits budget as well as develop a closer relationship with the healthcare providers who are caring for their employees. The program not only gives patients access to the excellent clinical care of the region’s leading academic medical center, but it also provides employers with more predictable costs and a healthier bottom line.

Vanderbilt Health’s first bundle is a joyful one: MyMaternityHealth. The program “bundles” all the services an expectant mother and baby need for the entire length of the pregnancy, from the initial prenatal care visit through delivery and 12 weeks after delivery. The services feature the same bundle price for all deliveries, including c-section and vaginal deliveries; physician and hospital services, imaging and labs; and related inpatient admissions, ER visits and observation stays. The program also opens the door to concierge-level support, a patient navigator and free educational classes, including childbirth and lactation courses. Metro Nashville Public Schools and Vanderbilt University Medical Center are the first employers to take advantage of the program.

What’s on the horizon? More bundles for cochlear implant and spine surgery will be released in October, and total joint and bariatric surgery bundles are set for release in January 2021.

To learn more about the benefits of bundles, join the Middle Tennessee Employee Benefits Council (MTEBC) next Tuesday, May 19 at 11:30 a.m. for a free webinar. (Register here to reserve your spot.) CJ Stimson, MD, will take viewers on a deeper dive on bundles and review how employers can implement this model within their own 2021 health plans. Dr. Stimson, a practicing cancer surgeon at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), has led policy development on bundled payments at Medicare and at VUMC.