CCMI’s Primary Care Initiatives Produce Modest, Mixed Results

Thursday, February 8th, 2018
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative Analysis

Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative Analysis: Mixed, Modest Results

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation’s (CCMI) Primary Care Initiatives have produced modest and mixed results, according to a final review of the program conducted by Kennell and Associates, Inc. and RTI International and released by CMS.

The six CMMI initiatives included in the review are the Comprehensive Primary Care (CPC) initiative, the Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Advanced Primacy Care Practice demonstration, the Independence at Home (IAH) demonstration, the Multi-Payer Advanced Primary Care Practice (MAPCP) Demonstration, the State Innovation Models (SIM) initiative, and the Health Care Innovation Awards Primary Care Redesign Programs (HCIA-PCR), which CMS identified as the most focused on primary care redesign.

Initiative practices did make large strides toward becoming Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs) or advanced primary care practices. While less than 10 percent of initiative FQHCs had any PCMH recognition status prior to the initiative, 70 percent achieved NCQA Level-3 recognition by the end of the initiative. Similarly, the CPC evaluation found that CPC initiative practices improved their PCMH Assessment scores by about 50 percent.

While the review did not find consistent impacts across the initiatives or by setting within initiatives for any of the four core outcomes identified by CMS: fee-for-service Medicare hospital admissions, 30-day readmissions, outpatient ED visits, and Medicare expenditures, some of the initiatives did report some positive outcomes.

Of the 22 more granular initiative settings (seven CPC regions, FQHC as a whole, six HCIA-PCR awardees, and eight MAPCP states) for which cumulative results through Year 3 were available, 10 settings experienced improvement relative to their comparison group for at least one of the four core outcome measures at a significance level and three of these settings (two CPC regions and HCIA TransforMED) experienced improvement on at least two core outcomes.

Across four initiatives (CPC, MAPCP, HCIA-PCR, and FQHC), analyses indicated that the aggregate impacts on the core outcomes were small and not statistically significant.

Certain population subgroups and practice types across initiatives experienced more favorable outcomes, according to the analysis. Specifically, beneficiaries originally eligible for Medicare due to disability and beneficiaries with poor health (highest quartile of baseline HCC risk scores) experienced slower growth in Medicare expenditures. However, disability status and HCC risk score were not associated with statically significant impacts on overall rates of hospitalizations or ED visits, and non-dually eligible beneficiaries and those who were not originally eligible for Medicare due to disability experienced lower rates of 30-day readmissions.

The analysis also found slower growth in Medicare expenditures and lower rates of inpatient admissions and ED visits among practices with fewer than six practitioners and also among practices that were not multispecialty practices.

Other key findings from the analysis:

  • There are advantages to both state-convened and CMS-convened initiatives;
  • Practice-level factors are important in addressing transformation challenges; and
  • Initiative-level supports also helped practices meet transformation challenges.

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