Posts Tagged ‘MSSP’

2017 ACO Snapshot: As Adoption Swells, Social Determinants of Health High on Accountable Care Agenda

June 29th, 2017 by Patricia Donovan

Nearly two-thirds of 2017 ACO Survey respondents attribute a reduction in hospital readmissions to accountable care activity.

Healthcare organizations may have been wary back in 2011, when the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) first introduced the accountable care organization (ACO) model. The HHS viewed the ACO framework as a tool to contain skyrocketing healthcare costs.

Fast-forward six years, and most resistance to ACOs appears to have dissipated. According to 2017 ACO metrics from the Healthcare Intelligence Network (HIN), ACO adoption more than doubled from 2013 to 2017, with the number of healthcare organizations participating in ACOs rising from 34 to 71 percent.

During that same period, the percentage of ACOs using shared savings models to reimburse its providers increased from 22 to 33 percent, HIN’s fourth comprehensive ACO snapshot found.

And in the spirit of delivering patient-centered, value-based care, ACOs have embraced a whole-person approach. In new ACO benchmarks identified this year, 37 percent of ACOs assess members for social determinants of health (SDOH). In support of that trend, the 2017 survey also found that one-third of responding ACOs include behavioral health providers.

Since that first accountable care foray by HHS, the number of ACO models has proliferated. The May 2017 HIN survey found that, of current ACO initiatives, the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) remains the front runner, with MSSP participation hovering near the same 66 percent level attained in HIN’s 2013 ACO snapshot.

Looking ahead to ACO models launching in 2018, 24 percent of respondents will embrace the Medicare ACO Track 1+ Model, a payment design that incorporates more limited downside risk.

This 2017 accountable care snapshot, which reflects feedback from 104 hospitals, health systems, payors, physician practices and others, also captured the following trends:

  • More than half—57 percent—participate in the Medicare Chronic Care Management program;
  • Cost and provider reimbursement are the top ACO challenges for 18 percent of 2017 respondents;
  • Clinical outcomes are the most telling measure of ACO success, say 83 percent of responding ACOs;
  • Twenty-nine percent of respondents not currently administering an ACO expect to launch an accountable care organization in the coming year;
  • 75 percent expect CMS to try and proactively assign Medicare beneficiaries to physician ACO panels to boost patient and provider participation.

Download HIN’s latest white paper, “Accountable Care Organizations in 2017: ACO Adoption Doubles in 4 Years As Shared Savings Gain Favor,” for a summary of May 2017 feedback from 104 hospitals and health systems, multi-specialty physician practices, health plans, and others on ACO activity.

Breaking Down UTSACN Advanced Care Coordination: “Data Analyst Is Your Best Friend”

October 6th, 2016 by Patricia Donovan

advanced care coordination

Data is useless unless transformed into actionable information, notes Cathy Bryan, UTSACN director of care coordination.

Although the care coordination director for UT Southwestern’s Accountable Care Network (UTSACN) insists there’s no secret sauce that ensures ACO success, Cathy O’Brien readily proposes eight ingredients to season care management initiatives.

It’s a recipe heavy on data analytics, and one destined to fail unless extracted data is transformed into actionable information, emphasized Ms. Bryan during Advanced Care Coordination: Bridging the Gap Between Appropriate Levels of Care and Care Plan Adherence for ACO Attributed Lives, a September 2016 webinar now available for replay.

For that transformation, the Year Three Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) ACO relies heavily on its data analyst. “Your analyst is your best friend. You need someone who is skilled and knows how to analyze large, complex data sources like you get with ACO claims data and other sources,” Ms. Bryan said.

To better manage its nearly 250,000 ACO-attributed lives (up from 19,000 in 2014), UTSACN leverages data from a number of sources, including paid claims data from CMS and commercial payors; more than 100 disparate electronic medical record (EMR) systems; and ADT feeds. This data mining has helped UTSACN to identify and bridge care and quality gaps, manage transitions in care, and risk-stratify its population for care management, including ‘risking risk’ patients exhibiting signs of struggle with adherence to care plans.

It’s also provided a starker picture of utilization, especially on the home health front. When data indicated UTSACN home health use had risen to levels more than twice the national average, UTSACN’s analyst created an internal efficiency index to categorize the more than 1,200 home health agencies in use. The use of this claims-based, risk-adjusted score ultimately pared the home health network to a manageable twenty agencies and saved approximately $6 million in home health utilization costs in the first quarter of 2016 alone.

To engage physicians, UTSACN supported the rollout of this narrow network with a large-scale reeducation effort. Presented with the rationale for this change, providers now better understand Medicare’s home health utilization rules and their accountability to the ACO for their share of costs, utilization and outcomes, notes Bryan.

“You’ve got to create buy-in. You don’t just take providers a list and say, here’s your problem. You’ve got to take a solution to them.”

Another solution designed to support providers is UTSACN’s primary-care-centric model, in which care coordination teams are paired geographically with eight to fifteen physician practices. Composed of embedded care coordinators (as well as field staff that do in-home work), the care coordination teams reach out to the practices’ patients on their behalf.

“We really see our team as an extension of the primary care practice, and we function as such. As we introduce ourselves to patients, we say we’re with the UT Southwestern Accountable Care Network calling on behalf of Dr. Smith, your primary care physician.”

As that extension, embedded care coordinators help physician practices to address barriers to patients’ medical plans of care, from lack of transportation to medication costs to the presence of falls risks in the home.

Click here to listen to an interview with Ms. Bryan.

AMITA Health Connected Care Management: Patients Transitioned But Never Really Discharged

August 23rd, 2016 by Patricia Donovan

Connected care includes AMITA Health front line staff, administrators, physicians, hospital executives and community partners.


Does a health system really need four types of care managers?

When AMITA Health set out to craft an ambulatory care coordination team for its highest-risk Medicare beneficiaries, it realized it didn’t.

As part of its thirteen-point plan to revamp care management across its continuum, the newly minted Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) accountable care organization (ACO) reexamined the roles of its navigators, case managers, patient-centered home care managers and ACO care managers, ultimately abandoning its siloed approach in favor of a more human-centric model of care.

“We really needed a better way to care for our patients across the continuum,” explained Susan Wickey, vice president, quality and care management at AMITA Health, during Reducing Readmissions and Avoidable Emergency Department Visits Through a Connected Care Management Strategy, an August 2016 webinar now available for replay. “We had to identify and remove those silos, and break down those barriers.”

AMITA Health’s decision to remake care management was a response to its MSSP program goal of fulfilling the Triple Aim: improving population health and experience of care while fostering appropriate utilization and cost. The initiative in no way devalued care managers’ contributions. “Our care coordinators across the continuum serve as our first responders when high risk patients need intervention,” said Ms. Wickey.

In the process of improving efficiencies, the nine-hospital system discovered that often, one could be more effective than four.

With help from Phillips Healthcare Consulting Division, AMITA inventoried its care management resources, then created a single centralized care management hub. Communication would occur via a single universal transfer form for each patient, for whom a single care plan would be developed. This power of one echoed throughout the transformation as AMITA restructured processes and programs.

AMITA rolled out the program initially with one unit of patients; today, all nine of AMITA Health’s hospitals operate with some component of this enterprise-wide redesign.

“We wanted to be a health system where our patients were transitioned but never really discharged from our healthcare system,” explained Ms. Wickey’s co-presenter, Dr. Luke Hansen, vice president and chief medical officer, population health for AMITA Health. “We never discharge a patient from our system; rather we transition our patients to the most appropriate setting.”

“This collaborative vision of connected care includes all of the front line staff, key administrators, physicians, hospital executives, along with AMITA’s community partners,” added Ms. Wickey.

In assessing its MSSP experience, Dr. Hansen said access to Medicare claims data enabled AMITA Health to track utilization, a first for the organization. Trends toward lower all-cause readmissions, lower admissions for ambulatory-sensitive conditions and emergency department visits were recorded, he said. And while he can’t definitely credit the MSSP for his organization’s improved quality scores in recent years, he takes pride in AMITA’s achievements of strengthening quality while holding costs relatively stable.

However, improvements have leveled off since 2013, its first MSSP performance year, which frustrates the population health CMO. “As those of you participating in MSSP know, year-over-year improvement is what you need to do to succeed.”

“We live that tension between our old models of care delivery, which were very successful for our organization, and new models, which we will have to adopt in a timely way to be successful in the future,” concluded Dr. Hansen.

Click here for an audio interview with Dr. Hansen.

ACOs: MSSP Commitment Hinges on MACRA Advanced APM Bonus Eligibility

June 2nd, 2016 by Patricia Donovan

ACO

A new NAACOS report polls ACOs on operating costs, MACRA and risk readiness.

More than half—56 percent—of accountable care organizations (ACOs) in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) indicated they would leave the MSSP program if their ACOs were not eligible for the 5 percent Advanced Alternative Payment Model (APM) bonus under MACRA, according to a May 2016 survey by the National Association of ACOs (NAACOS).

A third of ACOs said they would stay in the MSSP program even if deemed ineligible for the bonus, the NAACOS survey found.

The Alternative Payment Model is one of two paths for participation in the quality improvement programs included in the MACRA legislation for eligible professionals; the other is the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).

Currently, MSSP Track 1, a one-sided payment model, is not among the models that would qualify for the APM track—which CMS calls “Advanced APMs”—under the proposed MACRA rule; however, the MSSP Tracks 2 and 3, Next Generation, and Pioneer ACO programs, which all require downside risk, would qualify as APMs.

Approximately 411 MSSP ACOs, or 95 percent, participate in Track 1 of the program, according to April 2016 data from CMS.

All APM qualifying participants will receive a 5 percent lump sum bonus on their Medicare payments for 2019 through 2024. This bonus will be in addition to the incentive paid through existing contracts with the qualified APM (e.g., MSSP) demonstration program, etc.

Beginning in 2026, these ACOs will qualify for a 0.75 percent increase in their payments each year.

In other findings, the NAACOS survey also determined the following:

  • More than half of respondents (51 percent) describe their ongoing ACO operational costs as very significant;
  • The average total ACO operating costs for all respondents is $1.6 million per year, but the cost difference is significant between single or multi-ACOs, with single ACOs averaging just under $2 million and multi-ACOs averaging almost $1 million per year.
  • If required by CMS to take on downside risk, 43 percent said they would leave the MSSP program and about a third would stay (33 percent).
  • Over three quarters of the ACO respondents (84 percent) said they would be ready for downside risk within the next six years, with 44 percent of those even ready as soon as one to three years.

6 Population Health Strategies to Set Stage for Physician Reimbursement

May 12th, 2016 by Patricia Donovan

Robert Fortini, PNP

A team-based, top-of-license approach is key to population health success, says Robert Fortini, PNP, Bon Secours Medical Group chief clinical officer.

In the last six years, Bon Secours Medical Group (BSMG) has deployed a half-dozen population health strategies as groundwork for its Next Generation Healthcare offering. Here, Robert Fortini, PNP, BSMG chief clinical officer, identifies the tactics his organization leverages to effect health behavior change.

The specific population health strategies Bon Secours has deployed over the last six years start with the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) concept. I’m an avid believer in the concept of a team of professionals working together, along with that ‘top of license’ aspect, where it’s not just the sole domain of the independent ‘cowboy’ physician taking care of the patients. It’s pharmacists, nurses, social workers, and registered dietitians. It’s the entire team, with everyone having a vested responsibility for practicing to the top of his or her license.

Next, access is huge. It is ridiculous to think we can manage chronic disease in four 15-minute visits a year scheduled between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, while closing at lunchtime. It’s absolutely ludicrous. We are blowing that up by opening weekends and evenings and using technology to expand access, which is critical to affecting that behavioral change.

Third, know your population. Identifying effectively those who are most at risk with advanced analytics to make your efforts more efficient is very important.

Next is managed care contracting—aggressively coming to the table with our payors to help guide the conversations and craft the contracts and benefit designs that are attainable and achievable. That has been a new experience for Bon Secours in the last five years in particular. We have a CMS-based Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) Accountable Care Organization (ACO) covering about 30,000 attributed lives. We also have a number of commercial ACO-type contractual relationships with our commercial payors.

Fifth on the list: aggressive growth for palliative and hospice. We have invested very significantly in management of advanced illness that occurs at the end of life. The Medicare numbers around that are staggering: 40 percent of Medicare spend occurs in the last two years of life, and the pain, suffering, and emotional angst that occurs for patients and their families is incredible. Investing in the resources necessary to manage that effectively has been our strategic initiative at Bon Secours. We have a very large, well-versed palliative program that provides inpatient, outpatient and even home-based palliative services. And our hospice agency, which I am responsible for in addition to our medical group, has quadrupled in size in the last two years alone.

Then, finally, we manage the white space with powered care coordination, which includes health promotion, chronic disease management, care transition management, and more.

Source: Physician Reimbursement in 2016: 4 Billable Medicare Events to Maximize Care Management Revenue and Results

http://hin.3dcartstores.com/Physician-Reimbursement-in-2016-4-Billable-Medicare-Events-to-Maximize-Care-Management-Revenue-and-Results_p_5143.html

Physician Reimbursement in 2016: 4 Billable Medicare Events to Maximize Care Management Revenue and Results details the ways in which Bon Secours Medical Group (BSMG) leverages a team-based care approach, expanded care access and technology to capitalize on four Medicare billing events: transitional care management, chronic care management, Medicare annual wellness visits and advance care planning.

Infographic: MSSP and Next Generation ACO Risk Scenarios

March 21st, 2016 by Melanie Matthews

As healthcare shifts its focus to improved care, healthier populations and reduced costs, accountable care organizations (ACOs) stand to make a lasting, positive impact on the United States healthcare system and healthcare organizations’ bottom lines, according to a new infographic by Greenway Health.

Participation in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) has helped ACOs earn shared savings—but what percentage of savings can you earn and what risk do you assume for participating? The infographic examines the features of each track of the MSSP program, including the Next Generation ACO Model.

With the nation’s leading accountable care organizations already testing the waters with CMS’ newest value-based reimbursement opportunity, the Next Generation Accountable Care Organization Model, healthcare organizations are evaluating how this new opportunity aligns with their value-based contracting strategy. With a looming application deadline for a 2017 start for the next round of Next Generation ACOs, the clock is ticking. And, with one approved Next Generation ACO, River Health ACO, already departing the program effective February 1st, the “Go-No Go” decision has become even more critical.

During Next Generation ACO: An Organizational Readiness Assessment, a 60-minute webinar on April 5, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, Healthcare Strategy Group’s Travis Ansel, senior manager of strategic services, and Walter Hankwitz, senior accountable care advisor, will provide a value-based, risk contract roadmap to determine organizational readiness for participation in the Next Generation ACO Model in particular and in risk-based contracts in general.

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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.

5 Ideas to Improve ACO Performance Results

June 19th, 2014 by Cheryl Miller

One step John C. Lincoln network took to improve performance results at the end of its first year as a Medicare Shared Savings Program accountable care organization (MSSP ACO) was to focus on a relatively small number of patients, the top 5 percent of beneficiaries by claims volume who actually account for about 60 percent of medical spend, explains Heather Jelonek, CEO for ACOs at John C. Lincoln Network, who shares additional strategies here.

First, we decided to institute wellness visits across our health system. We’ve worked with several large third party payors here in the valley where they’re now recognizing the Medicare G-codes for wellness visits. We bring those patients in and get a full survey of what’s been going on with them.

Second, we’re engaging in regular population management. We now have our physicians talking about how often they want to see their patients with diabetes or hypertension or cancer.

Third, we’re also starting to focus on those individuals who are ‘aging in;’ those patients who are about 62½. We’re trying to get them in and get them into a routine, making sure they’ve got A1C scores every quarter and every six months, and have had their flu shots and colonoscopies. We’re hoping a healthier generation of individuals coming into the Medicare program improves the quality outcomes that we’ll see long-term.

Fourth, we’ve developed a standardization for our quality reporting. We’ve looked at the top 5 percent of our beneficiaries by claims volume, who actually account for about 60 percent of our medical spend. We’re hoping that by focusing on a relatively small number of patients, we’ll have a drastic impact on outcomes.

Next, we’re also leveraging our electronic medical record (EMR) to the fullest extent; we’re participating in a number of conversations and baseline studies with EPIC®. They are very interested in seeing what we’ve done with the tool and how we’re making it usable for our ACO reporting.

But the one thing that we will continue to struggle with and continue to dive deeply into is integration opportunities: talking to other communities, looking at health information exchanges (HIE’s) as we’re acquiring a new practice or signing a new community physician onto our ACO — bringing everybody to the table so that we’re all speaking the same language.

Excerpted from Beyond the EMR: Mining Population Health Analytics to Elevate Accountable Care.