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Gastroenterology and cardiology services are common and costly among Medicare beneficiaries. Episode-based payment, which aims to create incentives for high-quality, low-cost care, has been identified as a promising alternative payment model. This report describes research related to the design of episode-based payment models for ambulatory gastroenterology and cardiology services for possible testing by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The authors analyzed Medicare claims data to describe the frequency and characteristics of gastroenterology and cardiology index procedures, the practices that delivered index procedures, and the patients that received index procedures. The results of these analyses can help inform CMS decisions about the definition of episodes in an episode-based payment model; payment adjustments for service setting, multiple procedures, or other factors; and eligibility for the payment model.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two


  • Chapter Three

    Results: Gastroenterology Analyses

  • Chapter Four

    Results: Cardiology Analyses

  • Chapter Five


The research addressed in this report was conducted in RAND Health, a division of the RAND Corporation, under a subcontract to MITRE.

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