Care Coordination Compacts: Establishing Accountability, Clarity between Physicians and Specialists

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

It’s a scenario that occurs time and time again, and is a deep source of frustration for all involved: a physician refers a patient to a specialist, but hears nothing back from that specialist. In fact, they learn that the visit happened only when the patient returns for his primary care visit, but without any necessary information.

Or, a specialist receives a patient who has none of the pre-work or test results necessary for an effective visit, which ends up delaying care for the patient. Or, on the flip side, the specialist receives patients that had numerous unneeded and avoidable tests done prior to the referral.

The culprit? Lack of accountability and clarity, the foundations of the Care Compact, an agreement between two practices that outlines the roles and responsibilities of each in order to promote patient-centered care, says Robert Krebbs, director of payment innovation at WellPoint, Inc., during Care Compacts: Forming the Foundation of Care Teams with PCPs and Specialists, a May 2014 webinar now available for replay from the Healthcare Intelligence Network.

The Care Compacts (also known as Care Coordination Agreements and/or Referral Agreements) are key to WellPoint’s patient-centered medical home neighborhood (PCMH-N) pilot, Patient-Centered Specialty Care (PCSC). The program was launched in January 2014 with a select number of pilot practices, ranging in size from solo practices to large group practices in markets where there is a strong patient-centered medical home (PCMH) foothold, says Krebbs.

PCSC is a value-based reimbursement program developed for three types of specialties with clear care coordination alignment opportunities with PCMHs: cardiology, endocrinology, and OB/GYN. These specialists work with existing patient-centered medical home partners to improve quality and coordinate care guided by cost and efficiency measures, Krebbs continued, ensuring the following:

  • Effective two-way communication between primary and secondary providers;
  • Appropriate and timely referrals and consultations with prompt feedback of findings / recommendations;
  • Effective co-management of patients when necessary; and
  • Commitment to practice in a patient-centered fashion across all physicians delivering care to a patient.

The reason these care agreements work is because they provide a standard set of processes for roles in care coordination, truly defining what care coordination is between two practices. While many practices across the country agree they need care coordination, they don’t always agree on what the concept of care coordination is, Krebbs continues.

At their simplest, they help to clearly outline who’s going to do what in a referral or consult situation. By cutting out inappropriate duties and maintaining appropriate ones, they help to curb healthcare spend and improve patient care, Krebbs says.

“The care compact isn’t intended to solve all the world’s problems. It’s not going to make care coordination perfect, but it’s a starting point. Just like the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) provides a foundation for the medical neighborhood, the care compacts provide a foundation for care coordination between practices. It’s an essential starting point to further care coordination expectations across that medical neighborhood,” says Krebbs.

Listen to an interview with Robert Krebbs.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Related Posts:

Comments are closed.