Sparks Participates in New Healthcare Inititative

FORT SMITH, AR (January 31, 2013) – Sparks Health System is joining forces with hundreds of healthcare providers nationwide with the goal of improving care and reducing costs for Medicare.

On January 31, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Sparks Regional Medical Center will join more than 500 organizations participating in the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative. Through this new initiative, made possible by the Affordable Care Act, CMS will test how bundling payments for medical visits can result in more coordinated care for beneficiaries and lower costs for Medicare. Sparks is one of two healthcare facilities in the state participating in the initiative and the only facility in the northwest region taking part.

“Sparks Health System and its physicians are pleased to be selected by CMS for this innovative pilot project,” said Richard Boone, Sparks Health System’s Chief Financial Officer.

The Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative includes four models of bundling payments, varying by the types of health care providers involved and the services included in the bundle.  Depending on the model type, CMS will bundle payments for services beneficiaries receive during an episode of care, encouraging hospitals, physicians, post-acute facilities, and other providers as applicable to work together to improve health outcomes and lower costs. Organizations of providers participating in the initiative will agree to provide CMS a discount from expected payments for the episode of care, and then the provider partners will work together to reduce readmissions, duplicative care, and complications to lower costs through improvement.

Today’s announcement marks the start of Phase 1 of Models 2, 3, and 4.  In Phase 1 (January-July 2013), over 100 participants partnering with over 400 provider organizations, will receive new data from CMS on care patterns and engage in shared learning in how to improve care. Phase 1 participants are generally expected to become participants in Phase 2, in which approved participants opt to take on financial risk for episodes of care starting in July 2013, pending contract finalization and completion of CMS’ standard program integrity reviews. 

A complete list of Bundled Payments for Care Improvement participants can be found at