Current trends in maternity care in the United States show an increase in the use of costly, medically unnecessary interventions, such as elective cesarean deliveries, which have resulted in higher costs and poorer outcomes for mothers and babies. As policymakers consider viable options for payment reform, interest in a bundled payment strategy continues to gain momentum. This issue brief explores the potential for bundled payment to drive both cost reductions and quality improvements in maternity care. Defining a maternity care bundle is a key step in the process, with implications for contracting relationships and care coordination. Two implementation initiatives are examined; while evidence to assess their impact is limited to date, the urgent need to improve how we pay for and deliver maternity care in the U.S. compels attention to bundled payment as an alternative to fee-for-service payment.

Authors: Lally, S.

Publication Date: September 2013

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