The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is encouraging hospitals, physician practices and other provider organizations to apply to participate in one of four reimbursement programs under its new Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Initiative.

The initiative will bundle payment across provider sites for multiple services given during an episode of care, which is a single hospital stay and/or recovery from the stay. The idea behind bundled payments is to give providers a greater incentive to coordinate care across settings, which would require advanced use of health information technologies.

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