I am a health strategy influencer and doer who enjoys peeling away the complexity of health care delivery by drawing upon my roots as a clinician (emergency medicine and public health). To date, I have led on key local and global policy initiatives in minimising the burden of medical errors; co-developed the framework for evaluating national initiatives that promote integrated care; consulted for various health and life sciences’ players and in my spare time continued to develop my academic areas of interest in health systems redesign, population health and patient safety
A quick way to keep up to date with the literature on accountable care organisations
As STPs move more toward becoming ACSs and ACOs, this AI aggregator of research articles can help those trying to bring about change within their health systems
Abstract: The growing movement toward more accountable care delivery and the increasing number of people with chronic illnesses underscores the need for primary care practices to engage patients in their own care.For adult primary care practices seeing patients with diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease, we examined the relationship between selected practice characteristics, patient engagement, and patient-reported outcomes of care.Cross-sectional multilevel observational study of 16 randomly selected practices in two large accountable care organizations (ACOs).Patients with diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease (CVD) who met study eligibility criteria (n = 4368) and received care in 2014 were randomly selected to complete a patient activation and PRO survey (51% response rate; n = 2176). Primary care team members of the 16 practices completed surveys that assessed practice culture, relational coordination, and teamwork (86% response rate; n = 411).Patient-reported outcomes included depression (PHQ-4), physical functioning (PROMIS SF12a), and social functioning (PROMIS SF8a), the Patient Assessment of Chronic Illness Care instrument (PACIC-11), and the Patient Activation Measure instrument (PAM-13). Patient-level covariates included patient age, gender, education, insurance coverage, limited English language proficiency, blood pressure, HbA1c, LDL-cholesterol, and disease comorbidity burden. For each of the 16 practices, patient-centered culture and the degree of relational coordination among team members were measured using a clinician and staff survey. The implementation of shared decision-making activities in each practice was assessed using an operational leader survey.Having a patient-centered culture was positively associated with fewer depression symptoms (odds ratio [OR] = 1.51; confidence interval [CI] 1.04, 2.19) and better physical function scores (OR = 1.85; CI 1.25, 2.73). Patient activation was positively associated with fewer depression symptoms (OR = 2.26; CI 1.79, 2.86), better physical health (OR = 2.56; CI 2.00, 3.27), and better social health functioning (OR = 4.12; CI 3.21, 5.29). Patient activation (PAM-13) mediated the positive association between patients' experience of chronic illness care and each of the three patient-reported outcome measures-fewer depression symptoms, better physical health, and better social health. Relational coordination and shared decision-making activities reported by practices were not significantly associated with higher patient-reported outcome scores.Diabetic and CVD patients who received care from ACO-affiliated practices with more developed patient-centered cultures reported lower PHQ-4 depression symptom scores and better physical functioning. Diabetic and CVD patients who were more highly activated to participate in their care reported lower PHQ-4 scores and better physical and social outcomes of care.
Pub.: 06 Feb '17, Pinned: 02 Aug '17
Abstract: To evaluate whether greater experience and success with performance incentives among physician practices are related to increased participation in Medicare's voluntary value-based payment reforms.Publicly available data from Medicare's Physician Compare (n = 1,278; January 2012 to November 2013) and nationally representative physician practice data from the National Survey of Physician Organizations 3 (NSPO3; n = 907,538; 2013).We used regression analysis to examine practice-level relationships between prior exposure to performance incentives and participation in key Medicare value-based payment reforms: accountable care organization (ACO) programs, the Physician Quality Reporting System ("Physician Compare"), and the Meaningful Use of Health Information Technology program ("Meaningful Use"). Prior experience and success with financial incentives were measured as (1) the percentage of practices' revenue from financial incentives for quality or efficiency; and (2) practices' exposure to public reporting of quality measures.We linked physician participation data from Medicare's Physician Compare to the NSPO3 survey.There was wide variation in practices' exposure to performance incentives, with 64 percent exposed to financial incentives, 45 percent exposed to public reporting, and 2.2 percent of practice revenue coming from financial incentives. For each percentage-point increase in financial incentives, there was a 0.9 percentage-point increase in the probability of participating in ACOs (standard error [SE], 0.1, p < .001) and a 0.8 percentage-point increase in the probability of participating in Meaningful Use (SE, 0.1, p < .001), controlling for practice characteristics. Financial incentives were not associated with participation in Physician Compare. Among ACO participants, a 1 percentage-point increase in incentives was associated with a 0.7 percentage-point increase in the probability of being "very well" prepared to utilize cost and quality data (SE, 0.1, p < .001).Physicians organizations' prior experience and success with performance incentives were related to participation in Medicare ACO arrangements and participation in the meaningful use criteria but not to participation in Physician Compare. We conclude that Medicare must complement financial incentives with additional efforts to address the needs of practices with less experience with such incentives to promote value-based payment on a broader scale.
Pub.: 28 Jul '17, Pinned: 01 Aug '17
Abstract: The US healthcare system is rapidly moving toward rewarding value. Recent legislation, such as the Affordable Care Act and the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, solidified the role of value-based payment in Medicare. Many private insurers are following Medicare's lead. Much of the policy attention has been on programs such as accountable care organizations and bundled payments; yet, value-based purchasing (VBP) or pay-for-performance, defined as providers being paid fee-for-service with payment adjustments up or down based on value metrics, remains a core element of value payment in Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. This review article summarizes the current state of VBP programs and provides analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for the future. Multiple inpatient and outpatient VBP programs have been implemented and evaluated; the impact of those programs has been marginal. Opportunities to enhance the performance of VBP programs include improving the quality measurement science, strengthening both the size and design of incentives, reducing health disparities, establishing broad outcome measurement, choosing appropriate comparison targets, and determining the optimal role of VBP relative to alternative payment models. VBP programs will play a significant role in healthcare delivery for years to come, and they serve as an opportunity for providers to build the infrastructure needed for value-oriented care.
Pub.: 02 Jun '16, Pinned: 26 Jun '17
Abstract: Early evidence suggested that accountable care organizations (ACOs) could improve health care quality while constraining costs, and ACOs are expanding throughout the United States. However, if disadvantaged patients have unequal access to physicians who participate in ACOs, that expansion may exacerbate health care disparities. We examined the relationship between physicians' participation in both Medicare and commercial ACOs across the country and the sociodemographic characteristics of their likely patient populations. Physicians' participation in ACOs varied widely across hospital referral regions, from nearly 0 percent to over 85 percent. After we adjusted for individual physician and practice characteristics, we found that physicians who practiced in ZIP Code Tabulation Areas where a higher percentage of the population was black, living in poverty, uninsured, or disabled or had less than a high school education-compared to other areas-had significantly lower rates of ACO participation than other physicians. Our findings suggest that vulnerable populations' access to physicians participating in ACOs may not be as great as access for other groups, which could exacerbate existing disparities in health care quality.
Pub.: 10 Aug '16, Pinned: 22 Jun '17
Abstract: Accountable care organizations (ACOs) have diverse contracting arrangements and have displayed wide variation in their performance. Using data from national surveys of 399 ACOs, we examined differences between the 228 commercial ACOs (those with commercial payer contracts) and the 171 noncommercial ACOs (those with only public contracts, such as with Medicare or Medicaid). Commercial ACOs were significantly larger and more integrated with hospitals, and had lower benchmark expenditures and higher quality scores, compared to noncommercial ACOs. Among all of the ACOs, there was low uptake of quality and efficiency activities. However, commercial ACOs reported more use of disease monitoring tools, patient satisfaction data, and quality improvement methods than did noncommercial ACOs. Few ACOs reported having high-level performance monitoring capabilities. About two-thirds of the ACOs had established processes for distributing any savings accrued, and these ACOs allocated approximately the same amount of savings to the ACOs themselves, participating member organizations, and physicians. Our findings demonstrate that ACO delivery systems remain at a nascent stage. Structural differences between commercial and noncommercial ACOs are important factors to consider as public policy efforts continue to evolve.
Pub.: 06 Oct '16, Pinned: 21 Jun '17
Abstract: Provider consolidation has been associated with higher health care prices and spending. The prevailing wisdom is that payment reform will accelerate consolidation, especially between physicians and hospitals and among physician groups, as providers position themselves to bear financial risk for the full continuum of patient care. Drawing on data from a number of sources from 2008 onward, we examined the relationship between Medicare's accountable care organization (ACO) programs and provider consolidation. We found that consolidation was under way in the period 2008-10, before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) established the ACO programs. While the number of hospital mergers and the size of specialty-oriented physician groups increased after the ACA was passed, we found minimal evidence that consolidation was associated with ACO penetration at the market level or with physicians' participation in ACOs within markets. We conclude that payment reform has been associated with little acceleration in consolidation in addition to trends already under way, but there is evidence of potential defensive consolidation in response to new payment models.
Pub.: 09 Feb '17, Pinned: 21 Jun '17
Abstract: Medicare is experimenting with numerous concurrent reforms aimed at improving quality and value for hospitals. It is unclear if these myriad reforms are mutually reinforcing or in conflict with each other.To evaluate whether hospital participation in voluntary value-based reforms was associated with greater improvement under Medicare's Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP).Retrospective, longitudinal study using publicly available national data from Hospital Compare on hospital readmissions for 2837 hospitals from 2008 to 2015. We assessed hospital participation in 3 voluntary value-based reforms: Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records; the Bundled Payment for Care Initiative episode-based payment program (BPCI); and Medicare's Pioneer and Shared Savings accountable care organization (ACO) programs. We used an interrupted time series design to test whether hospitals' time-varying participation in these value-based reforms was associated with greater improvement in Medicare's HRRP.Thirty-day risk standardized readmission rates for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), heart failure, and pneumonia.Among the 2837 hospitals in this study, participation in value-based reforms varied considerably over the study period. In 2010, no hospitals were participating in the meaningful use, ACO, or BPCI programs. By 2015, only 56 hospitals were not participating in at least 1 of these programs. Among hospitals that did not participate in any voluntary reforms, the association between the HRRP and 30-day readmission was -0.76 percentage points for AMI (95% CI, -0.93 to -0.60), -1.30 percentage points for heart failure (95% CI, -1.47 to -1.13), and -0.82 percentage points for pneumonia (95% CI, -0.97 to -0.67). Participation in the meaningful use program alone was associated with an additional change in 30-day readmissions of -0.78 percentage points for AMI (95% CI, -0.89 to -0.67), -0.97 percentage points for heart failure (95% CI, -1.08 to -0.86), and -0.56 percentage points for pneumonia (95% CI, -0.65 to -0.47). Participation in ACO programs alone was associated with an additional change in 30-day readmissions of -0.94 percentage points for AMI (95% CI, -1.29 to -0.59), -0.83 percentage points for heart failure (95% CI, -1.26 to -0.41), and -0.59 percentage points for pneumonia (95% CI, -1.00 to -0.18). Participation in multiple reforms led to greater improvement: participation in all 3 programs was associated with an additional change in 30-day readmissions of -1.27 percentage points for AMI (95% CI, -1.58 to -0.97), -1.64 percentage points for heart failure (95% CI, -2.02 to -1.26), and -1.05 percentage points for pneumonia (95% CI, -1.32 to -0.78).Hospital participation in voluntary value-based reforms was associated with greater reductions in readmissions. Our findings lend support for Medicare's multipronged strategy to improve hospital quality and value.
Pub.: 11 Apr '17, Pinned: 17 Jun '17
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