Drawing upon an 18-month pilot to curtail wasteful utilization in Ohio ERs, especially by Medicaid beneficiaries identified as 'ultra-utilizers,' Mina Chang, Ph.D., chief, health services research and program development section of the Bureau of Health Services Research for the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services, looks at three ED-based interventions targeting this population.
The ED care team approach is very similar for the three targeted ultra-utilizer groups: severe mental illness, non-mental health conditions, and chronic back pain. It’s based on a strong medical and clinical leadership oversight. The integrated interdisciplinary teams include managed care and community providers, and care management or care managers. They came together based on the patients’ medical profiles, developing an individual care treatment plan for each of the patients including the testing. The team would continue to outreach to those patients, to address their social and medical needs and to coordinate care for those patients.
The treatment plan at the summary level was made available to older participating EDs in the past intervention. The patient will be also flagged at those EDs. And the intent is if the member showed up at the ED, the ED attending physician would be able to reference on the treatment plan and also communicate with the interdisciplinary teams as necessary.
For the mental health stream, the designated provider is a comprehensive mental health center that works together with the managed care claims to develop treatment plans. And the summary level of the treatment plan will be shared with the participating EDs from the two health systems.
For these streams we also have a 24/7 crisis center so the EDs can tap into them to have the most updated treatment plan faxed over as needed.
We also have another integrated care team for the non-mental health population led by Metro Health’s medical home team. These designated providers work with our managed care plans to develop a treatment plan for each participating patient and the summary will be shared with the participating ED from the three health systems.
Finally, similar of design was a back pain stream with a pain clinic as the designated provider. This designated team works with our managed care plan care managers. In turn, they built a care treatment plan for those participating patients, and shared the treatment plan summary with the participating ED and the three health systems.
We already have very encouraging results. Almost all members reported their outreach from the team has been excellent or good. And that’s after we instituted the intervention. The majority of the members reported they have input into treatment plans, so most of them slowly follow up with their providers.
The unique area noted by the mental health team is that transportation, fear and timely appointments are the most common barriers preventing ultra-utilizer patients from seeking follow-up care after ED visits.
We also observed increasing success for members keeping appointments. Our teams also noted that communication is key, not only between the participating test site, since there are so many moving parts, but also within the test site, such as the pain clinics or the emergency department.
5 Interventions to Reduce Avoidable ER Use by the Medicaid Population looks at the collaborative effort among five Ohio regions to target key reasons for avoidable ER visits among Medicaid beneficiaries and roll out test interventions in a rapid cycle quality improvement approach.