News From the College

ACS releases primer on bundled payment


The American College of Surgeons (ACS) recently released the Surgeons and Bundled Payment Models: A Primer for Understanding Alternative Physician Payment Approaches, which summarizes the concept of bundled payment and the effect bundled payment policies could have on surgical practices.

Given the increased focus on bundled payment as an approach to payment reform, the ACS General Surgery Coding and Reimbursement Committee formed a workgroup to develop a process for creating clinically coherent bundled payment models and analyzing the potential opportunities and barriers. The workgroup was composed of surgeon experts in quality and coding and reimbursement and was tasked with: (1) determining the resources and expertise necessary for developing clinically coherent surgical bundles; (2) developing general principles regarding the selection, optimal structure, and function of surgical bundles; (3) providing robust guidelines about which procedures or condition characteristics must be present to construct a usable bundle; and (4) providing insight about which characteristics might make a procedure or condition a poor candidate for a bundled payment model.

In addition to the workgroup findings, the primer provides an overview of existing bundled payment programs at Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania and BlueCross BlueShield of Massachusetts, as well as common issues to consider when developing a bundle. To access this members-only resource, go to and use your ACS issued username and password.

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