Posts Tagged ‘high risk’

Physician Supplemental QRUR: Episode-Specific Patient-Level Data Tells Story of High Utilizers

February 7th, 2017 by Patricia Donovan

QRUR reports provide a mirror into physicians’ cost and quality performance under MACRA.

As year one of MACRA unfolds, healthcare providers deterred by security hurdles associated with CMS Enterprise Portal access may want to reconsider. The wealth of aggregate quality and cost performance data available through the portal is well worth the trouble of accessing it, advises William Holding, consultant with PDA, Inc.

Specifically, Quality Resource and Utilization Reports (QRURs) downloadable from the portal are essential tools for physician practices that hope to succeed on MACRA-defined reimbursement paths, Holding said—even practices equipped with robust internal reporting systems.

“This is the same system that accountable care organizations (ACOs) use, and that CMS uses for many other things, so it’s a good idea to get past those barriers,” he explained during Physician MACRA Preparation: Using QRUR and Other CMS Data to Maximize Your Performance, a February 2017 webinar now available for replay.

Originally designed for CMS’s value-based modifier, QRURs are good indicators of future cost performance under MACRA, via either Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), where most physician practices are expected to fall initially, or Alternate Payment Models (APMs), he said.

After providing an overview of MIPS and APMs, including five essential prerequisites to MACRA preparation, Holding delved into the quality and cost metrics contained in QRURs, from aggregate data in the main report to detailed tables rich with patient-specific information.

The main QRUR report illustrates where a physician practice falls in relation to other practices on the overall composite for cost and quality. The QRUR’s Quality portion shows scores for a series of domains, including effective clinical care and patient experience, which offer a great window into how a practice might perform with different selected measures in MIPS.

Next, QRUR cost performance indicates per capita costs for attributed beneficiaries, which will remain a cost measure in MIPS.

Drilling down, Holding characterized seven associated QRUR downloads—including one table on individual eligible professional performance on the 2015 PQRS Measures—as even more useful than the QRURs themselves.

And finally, he termed the downloadable supplemental QRUR “a very powerful tool” that drills down to the beneficiary level, providing a snapshot of some of the highest cost events occurring among a practice’s patients.

“For high utilizers, for specific episodes, you can drill right down to the patient to try and understand the story. What’s happening to your patient when they’re not in your practice, and what can you do about it?” said Holding.

Having presented the available reports, Holding described four key benefits of using QRUR downloads, including as a priority setting tool, and then detailed the myriad of ways QRURs can be analyzed to improve MIPS performance.

However, Holding stressed, even physician practices with the most sophisticated reporting structures will not thrive under MACRA without the right team or culture of provider support in place. He closed his presentation with a formula for determining investment in performance improvement activities and a five-step plan for MACRA preparation.

Listen to an interview with William Holding on the use of QRURs to determine a physician practice’s highest value referral pathways.

Use Annual Wellness Visit to Screen for Social Determinants of Health in High-Risk Medicare Population

December 13th, 2016 by Patricia Donovan

The social determinant of social isolation carries the same health risk as smoking, and double that of obesity.

With about a third of health outcomes determined by human behavior choices, according to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study, improving population health should be as straightforward as fostering healthy behaviors in patients and health plan members.

But what’s unstated in that data point is that the remaining 70 percent of health outcomes are determined by social determinants of health—areas that involve an individual’s social and environmental condition as well as experiences that directly impact health and health status.

By addressing social determinants, healthcare organizations can dramatically impact patient outcomes as well as their own financial success under value-based care, advised Dr. Randall Williams, chief executive officer, Pharos Innovations, during Social Determinants and Population Health: Moving Beyond Clinical Data in a Value-Based Healthcare System, a December 2016 webinar now available for replay.

“The challenge is that few healthcare systems are currently equipped to identify individuals within their populations who have social determinant challenges,” said Dr. Williams, “And few are still are structured to coordinate both medical and nonmedical support needs.”

The Medicare annual wellness visit is an ideal opportunity to screen beneficiaries for social determinants—particularly rising and high-risk patients, who frequently face a higher percentage of social determinant challenges.

Primary social determinants include the individual’s access to healthcare, their socio- and economic conditions, and factors related to their living environment such as air or water quality, availability of food, and transportation.

Dr. Williams presented several patient scenarios illustrating key social determinants, including social isolation, in which individuals, particularly the elderly, are lonely, lack companionship and frequently suffer from depression. “Social isolation carries the same health risk as smoking and double that of obesity,” he said.

While technology is useful in reducing social isolation, studies by the Pew Research Center determined that segments of the population with the highest percentage of chronic illness tend to be least connected to the Internet or even to mobile technologies.

“Accountable care organizations (ACOs) and other organizations managing populations must continue to push technology-enhanced care models,” said Dr. Williams, “But they also have to understand and assess technology barriers and inequalities in their populations, especially among those with chronic conditions.”

In another patient scenario, loss of transportation severely hampered an eighty-year-old woman’s ability to complete physical rehabilitation following a knee replacement.

Dr. Williams then described multiple approaches for healthcare organizations to begin to address social determinants in population health, including patients’ cultural biases, which may make them more or less open to specific care options. This fundamental care redesign should include an environmental assessment to catalog available social and community resources, he said, providing several examples.

“This is not the kind of information you’re going to find in a traditional electronic health record or even care management platforms,” he concluded.