There is no denying that COVID-19 threw an unexpected wrinkle into value-based care (VBC) contracts—but it might not be exactly the wrinkle we thought we’d see. Initial concerns that COVID-19 might scuttle VBC have calmed, largely due to Medicare’s efforts to work with providers carrying downside risk.
In truth, COVID-19 only emphasized providers’ need to diversify by augmenting fee-for-service (FFS) income with VBC revenue streams. As patient volumes and FFS payments dried up, provider performance data shows that savings per case in bundled payment programs remained high and capitated payments continued. Financially, providers who chose to stay in VBC contracts but opt out of the risk associated with COVID-19 patients will likely fare better than those who did not.
That’s good, because there are unmistakable signs that VBC is poised to accelerate.