Posts Tagged ‘Medicare Shared Savings Program’

Longitudinal Care Plans, Risk Scores Raise Patient Engagement for MSSP ACO’s Complex Population

October 6th, 2015 by Patricia Donovan

A top-performing MSSP in 2014, the Memorial Hermann ACO has successfully engaged its Complex Care population via a collaborative care coordination approach.

The Memorial Hermann ACO may have been one of 2014’s top-performing Medicare Shared Savings Programs (MSSPs), but the health system’s commitment to achieving quality outcomes was solidified more than eight years ago, when its own physicians asked for a clinically integrated physician network.

Memorial Hermann complied, developing a set of tools, training and care models to not only support the physicians but also reflect payors’ needs: chief among them, initiatives that could boost patient engagement.

Today, the Memorial Hermann ACO has a patient-centered care delivery strategy built on teamwork and collaboration. The Texas ACO is proud to point to a patient engagement rate of 74 percent for individuals enrolled in Complex Care, an initiative for individuals with long-term, multiple chronic conditions that has significantly reduced cost and hospital lengths of stay for participants.

This patient engagement measure represents members who consent to participate in the program and remain engaged for 30 days, explained Mary Folladori, RN, MSN, FACM, CMAC, system director of care management at Memorial Hermann Physician Network and ACO, during Care Coordination in an ACO: Managing the Population Health Continuum from Wellness to End-of-Life, a September 2015 webinar from the Healthcare Intelligence Network now available for replay.

Ms. Folladori provided an overview of the ACO’s care coordination strategy that in 2014 generated savings of nearly $53 million in the MSSP program, resulting in a health system payout of almost $23 million. The ACO’s performance earned Memorial Hermann a MSSP quality score of 88 percent.

Some high points from Memorial Hermann’s ACO strategy include the following:

  • Embedding of care coordinators into the ‘micro culture’ of a physician practice, its community and the members served by the practice;
  • Strategic use of a data warehouse to identify vulnerable members early and link them with needed health services;
  • Development of comprehensive risk scores derived from multiple sources for Complex Care patients; and
  • Creation of longitudinal care plans that follow Complex Care patients for up to 18 months and help to transition them back to a baseline level of functioning.

In wrapping up observations on Memorial Hermann’s quality-driven approach, Ms. Folladori quoted its CEO, Chris Lloyd: “The success that has been found within our ACO is deeply based on a collaborative approach to care. It has been cultivated over eight years with our commitment to clinical integration. We all strongly believe that without that strong clinically integrated physician network, without our physicians driving those quality outcomes, we would not have been as successful as we have.”

With so much emphasis on quality and outcomes, it’s no wonder participation today in the Memorial Hermann ACO is by invitation only—and only after a practice has passed an assessment.

4 Trends for Healthcare Providers in 2014

January 30th, 2014 by Jessica Fornarotto

Dual-track medical homes, e-visits, retooled patient handoffs and more post-acute care are predicted provider trends for 2014, according to Steven Valentine, president of The Camden Group. HIN interviewed Valentine prior to his presentation during an October webinar on Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2014: A Strategic Planning Session.

HIN: What is the physician practice going to look like in 2014? How has the primary care team evolved to meet the Triple Aim values inherent in the PCMH and accountable care models?

(Steven Valentine): We should expect to continue to see consolidation amongst the medical groups. The independent practice associations will begin to assimilate together because they need to put more money into their infrastructure. And many of the organizations have underperformed, in all honesty.

The primary care team is still critical. We’ve benefitted by keeping many primary care doctors around because they were negatively hurt with their net worth in the recession in 2008-2010. But it’s slowly coming back and we’re starting to see those physicians thinking about retirement again. The reality is, we’re never going to replace all of these primary care doctors as they wind down their practice. We need to do a better job of getting telehealth going and utilizing e-visits. We’re seeing the health plans starting to pay for those e-visits, as well as having the consumer who uses them use a credit card and pay at that time, just like a visit.

We’re going to have to look at different models. Obviously, the nurse practitioner is getting more involved with the primary care. And yes, they’re still pursuing the Triple Aim. We know that quality scores, satisfaction scores and trying to manage cost per unit is still a critical focus of the triple aim moving forward with population health.

Lastly, with a PCMH in accountable care, while some of the pioneer accountable care organizations (ACOs) reduce themselves out of pioneer into the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), we still have a number of organizations and it’s growing. The commercial ACOs have been very successful in California.

We fully expect accountable care to continue. We think the PCMH will evolve into two tracks. The first track is a primary care PCMH. The spinoff is a chronic care medical home that has the multidisciplinary team organized around a chronic disease. This is a model developed by CareMore years ago in Southern California and it’s been expanded across the country. As I travel the country, I run into organizations that have set up these chronic care centers around the chronic disease.

HIN: Regarding the Pioneer ACO program, one of the top performers in the CMS pioneer program, Monarch HealthCare, told us that it’s going to be working to engage specialists in care coordination roles in year two and year three. What’s ahead for specialists in terms of quality and performance improvement as well as shouldering perhaps more care coordination duties, especially for Medicare patients?

(Steven Valentine): The specialists are going to be a critical piece to this whole solution. They have been a tremendous asset in the area of bundled payments, where you have the facility fee and physician fee combined into one payment. That works for both the Medicare as well as the commercial side. You’re beginning to see more of the bundled payments within an ACO.

The ACO manages what we call ‘frequency’ — in other words, the number of procedures to be done. Specialists are involved in satisfaction, quality scores, and resource consumption once the decision is made that the procedure needs to be done.

We expect the specialists to be involved with quality and performance. Everybody is putting in incentive programs to help drive higher quality, better performance, and a lower cost.

HIN: Hospitals have tightened the patient discharge process as a means of shoring up care transitions. But what other work needs to be done in terms of collaborations, perhaps with skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), long-term care and home health, for example, to improve patient handoffs and reduce hospital readmissions?

(Steven Valentine): Handoffs have probably been one of the areas where we’ve seen the most disappointment or underperformance within many ACOs. They have not effectively involved the hospitalists and the care/case managers who are typically embedded within the medical group that would oversee the patient throughout the care continuum. Or if it’s a health system, emanate centralized care/case management function where they manage all of the transitions from pre-acute, acute to post-acute. We think this will get better. As the doctors are more at risk, they will get more engaged with the care/case managers to manage these transitions and handoffs.

We also know that, while not in 2014 but the trend will start, we’ll see lower acute care utilization, pushing more patients to post-acute care. This means, in any given area, acute care hospitals will begin to convert excess capacity to post-acute care services like skilled nursing, long-term care, palliative care, hospice care, home care and rehab care. You will begin to see a closer proximity. The care managers will be able to work more effectively with the doctors and hospitals to manage the patient through the continuum, smooth out these transitions and have a better patient experience with better satisfaction scores at a lower cost.

Excerpted from: Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2014: Performance Expectations for the Healthcare Industry