Association of Practice-Level Social and Medical Risk With Performance in the Medicare Physician Value-Based Payment Modifier Program.
ABSTRACT: Medicare recently launched the Physician Value-Based Payment Modifier (PVBM) Program, a mandatory pay-for-performance program for physician practices. Little is known about performance by practices that serve socially or medically high-risk patients.To compare performance in the PVBM Program by practice characteristics.Cross-sectional observational study using PVBM Program data for payments made in 2015 based on performance of large US physician practices caring for fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries in 2013.High social risk (defined as practices in the top quartile of proportion of patients dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid) and high medical risk (defined as practices in the top quartile of mean Hierarchical Condition Category risk score among fee-for-service beneficiaries).Quality and cost z scores based on a composite of individual measures. Higher z scores reflect better performance on quality; lower scores, better performance on costs.Among 899 physician practices with 5?189?880 beneficiaries, 547 practices were categorized as low risk (neither high social nor high medical risk) (mean, 7909 beneficiaries; mean, 320 clinicians), 128 were high medical risk only (mean, 3675 beneficiaries; mean, 370 clinicians), 102 were high social risk only (mean, 1635 beneficiaries; mean, 284 clinicians), and 122 were high medical and social risk (mean, 1858 beneficiaries; mean, 269 clinicians). Practices categorized as low risk performed the best on the composite quality score (z score, 0.18 [95% CI, 0.09 to 0.28]) compared with each of the practices categorized as high risk (high medical risk only: z score, -0.55 [95% CI, -0.77 to -0.32]; high social risk only: z score, -0.86 [95% CI, -1.17 to -0.54]; and high medical and social risk: -0.78 [95% CI, -1.04 to -0.51]) (P?
Project description:Importance:Facing new financial incentives to reduce unnecessary spending, health care organizations may attempt to reduce wasteful care by influencing physician practices or selecting more cost-effective physicians. However, physicians' role in determining the use of low-value services has not been well described. Objectives:To quantify variation in provision of low-value health care services among primary care physicians and to estimate the proportion of variation attributable to physician characteristics that may be used to predict performance. Design, Setting, and Participants:This retrospective analysis included national Medicare fee-for-service claims of 3?159?834 beneficiaries served by 41?773 generalist physicians from January 1, 2008, through December 31, 2013 (data were analyzed in 2016 through 2018). Multilevel modeling was used to estimate the extent of variation in service use across physicians within their region and provider organization, adjusted for patient clinical and sociodemographic characteristics and sampling variation. The proportion of variation attributable to physician characteristics that may be used to predict performance (age, sex, academic degree, professorship, publication record, trial investigation, grant receipt, pharmaceutical or device manufacturer payment, and panel size) was estimated via additional regression analysis. Main Outcomes and Measures:Annual count per beneficiary of 17 primary care-associated services that provide minimal clinical benefit. Results:Among the 3?159?834 beneficiaries (58.3% women; mean [SD] age, 73.2 [11.0] years) served by 41?773 physicians (74.9% men; mean [SD] age, 48.0 [10.1] years), the mean annual rate of low-value services was 33.1 services per 100 beneficiaries. Considerable variation across physicians within the same region was found (SD, 8.8 [95% CI, 8.7-8.9]; 90th:10th percentile ratio, 2.03 [95% CI, 2.01-2.06]) and across physicians within the same organization (SD, 6.1 [95% CI, 6.0-6.2]; 90th:10th percentile ratio, 1.61 [95% CI, 1.60-1.63]). The corresponding rates at the 10th percentile of physicians within region and within organization respectively were 21.8 and 25.3 services per 100 beneficiaries. Observable physician characteristics accounted for only 4.4% of physician variation within region and 1.4% of physician variation within organization. Conclusions and Relevance:Physician practices may substantially contribute to low-value service use, which is prevalent even among the least wasteful physicians. Because little variation is predicted by measured physician characteristics, direct measures of low-value care provision may aid organizational efforts to encourage high-value practices.
Project description:To identify factors associated with the cost of treating high-cost Medicare beneficiaries.A national sample of 1.6 million elderly, Medicare beneficiaries linked to 2004-2005 Community Tracking Study Physician Survey respondents and local market data from secondary sources.Using 12 months of claims data from 2005 to 2006, the sample was divided into predicted high-cost (top quartile) and lower cost beneficiaries using a risk-adjustment model. For each group, total annual standardized costs of care were regressed on beneficiary, usual source of care physician, practice, and market characteristics.Among high-cost beneficiaries, health was the predominant predictor of costs, with most physician and practice and many market factors (including provider supply) insignificant or weakly related to cost. Beneficiaries whose usual physician was a medical specialist or reported inadequate office visit time, medical specialist supply, provider for-profit status, care fragmentation, and Medicare fees were associated with higher costs.Health reform policies currently envisioned to improve care and lower costs may have small effects on high-cost patients who consume most resources. Instead, developing interventions tailored to improve care and lowering cost for specific types of complex and costly patients may hold greater potential for "bending the cost curve."
Project description:The Medicare accountable care organization (ACO) programs rely on delivery system integration and health care provider risk sharing to lower spending while improving quality of care.To compare spending and quality between larger and smaller provider groups and examine how size-related differences vary by 2 factors considered central to ACO performance: group primary care orientation and financial risk sharing by health care providers.Using 2009 Medicare claims and linked American Medical Association Group Practice data, we assigned 4.29 million beneficiaries to health care provider groups based on primary care use. We categorized group size according to eligibility thresholds for the Shared Savings (?5000 assigned beneficiaries) and Pioneer (?15,000) ACO programs and distinguished hospital-based from independent groups. We assessed the primary care orientation of larger groups' specialty mix and used health maintenance organization market penetration and data from the Community Tracking Study to measure the extent of financial risk accepted by different types of provider groups in different areas for managed care patients. We estimated linear regression models comparing spending and quality between larger and smaller health care provider groups, allowing size-related differences to vary by measures of group primary care orientation and risk sharing. Spending and quality measures included total medical spending, spending by type of service, 5 process measures of quality, and 30-day readmissions, all adjusted for sociodemographic and clinical characteristics.Compared with smaller groups, larger hospital-based groups had higher total per-beneficiary spending in 2009 (mean difference, +$849), higher 30-day readmission rates (+1.3 percentage points), and similar performance on 4 of 5 process measures of quality. In contrast, larger independent physician groups performed better than smaller groups on all process measures and exhibited significantly lower per-beneficiary spending in counties where risk sharing by these groups was more common (-$426). Among all groups sufficiently large to participate in ACO programs, a strong primary care orientation was associated with lower spending, fewer readmissions, and better quality of diabetes care.Spending was lower and quality of care better for Medicare beneficiaries served by larger independent physician groups with strong primary care orientations in environments where health care providers accepted greater risk.
Project description:The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently launched accountable care organization (ACO) programs designed to improve quality and slow cost growth. The ACOs resemble an earlier pilot, the Medicare Physician Group Practice Demonstration (PGPD), in which participating physician groups received bonus payments if they achieved lower cost growth than local controls and met quality targets. Although evidence indicates the PGPD improved quality, uncertainty remains about its effect on costs.To estimate cost savings associated with the PGPD overall and for beneficiaries dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.Quasi-experimental analyses comparing preintervention (2001-2004) and postintervention (2005-2009) trends in spending of PGPD participants to local control groups. We compared estimates using several alternative approaches to adjust for case mix.Ten physician groups from across the United States.The intervention group was composed of fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries (n = 990,177) receiving care primarily from the physicians in the participating medical groups. Controls were Medicare beneficiaries (n = 7,514,453) from the same regions who received care largely from non-PGPD physicians. Overall, 15% of beneficiaries were dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.Annual spending per Medicare fee-for-service beneficiary.Annual savings per beneficiary were modest overall (adjusted mean $114, 95% CI, $12-$216). Annual savings were significant in dually eligible beneficiaries (adjusted mean $532, 95% CI, $277-$786), but were not significant among nondually eligible beneficiaries (adjusted mean $59, 95% CI, $166 in savings to $47 in additional spending). The adjusted mean spending reductions were concentrated in acute care (overall, $118, 95% CI, $65-$170; dually eligible: $381, 95% CI, $247-$515; nondually eligible: $85, 95% CI, $32-$138). There was significant variation in savings across practice groups, ranging from an overall mean per-capita annual saving of $866 (95% CI, $815-$918) to an increase in expenditures of $749 (95% CI, $698-$799). Thirty-day medical readmissions decreased overall (-0.67%, 95% CI, -1.11% to -0.23%) and in the dually eligible (-1.07%, 95% CI, -1.73% to -0.41%), while surgical readmissions decreased only for the dually eligible (-2.21%, 95% CI, -3.07% to -1.34%). Estimates were sensitive to the risk-adjustment method.Substantial PGPD savings achieved by some participating institutions were offset by a lack of saving at other participating institutions. Most of the savings were concentrated among dually eligible beneficiaries.
Project description:To compare the delivery of end of life care given to US Medicare beneficiaries in hospital by internal medicine physicians with Republican versus Democrat political affiliations.Retrospective observational study.US Medicare.Random sample of Medicare beneficiaries, who were admitted to hospital in 2008-12 with a general medical condition, and died in hospital or shortly thereafter.Total inpatient spending, intensive care unit use, and intensive end of life treatments (eg, mechanical ventilation and gastrostomy tube insertion) among patients dying in hospital, and hospice referral among patients discharged but at high predicted risk of 30 day mortality after discharge. Physicians were categorized as Democrat, Republican, or non-donors, using federal political contribution data.Among 1?480?808 patients, 93?976 (6.3%) were treated by 1523 Democratic physicians, 58?876 (4.0%) by 768 Republican physicians, and 1?327?956 (89.6%) by 23?627 non-donor physicians. Patient demographics and clinical characteristics were similar between groups. Democrat physicians were younger, more likely to be female, and more likely to have graduated from a top 20 US medical school than Republican physicians. Mean end of life spending, after adjustment for patient covariates and hospital specific fixed effects, was US$17?938 (£12?872; €14?612) among Democrat physicians (95% confidence interval $17?176 to $18?700) and $18?409 among Republican physicians ($17?362 to $19?456; adjusted Republican v Democrat difference, $472 (-$803 to $1747), P=0.47). Intensive end of life treatments for patients who died in hospital did not vary by physician political affiliation. The proportion of patients discharged from hospital to hospice did not vary with physician political affiliation. Among patients in the top 5% of predicted risk of death 30 days after hospital discharge, adjusted proportions of patients discharged to hospice were 15.8%, 15.0%, and 15.2% among Democrat, Republican, and non-donor physicians, respectively (adjusted difference in proportion between Republicans v Democrats, -0.8% (-2.7% to 0.9%), P=0.43).This study provided no evidence that physician political affiliation is associated with the intensity of end of life care received by patients in hospital. Other treatments for politically polarised healthcare issues should be investigated.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To examine the relationship of physician versus hospital ownership of small- and medium-sized practices with spending and utilization of care. DATA SOURCE/STUDY SETTING/DATA COLLECTION:Survey data for 1,045 primary care-based practices of 1-19 physicians linked to Medicare claims data for 2008 for 282,372 beneficiaries attributed to the 3,010 physicians in these practices. STUDY DESIGN:We used generalized linear models to estimate the associations between practice characteristics and outcomes (emergency department visits, index admissions, readmissions, and spending). PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:Beneficiaries linked to hospital-owned practices had 7.3 percent more emergency department visits and 6.4 percent higher total spending compared to beneficiaries linked to physician-owned practices. CONCLUSIONS:Physician practices are increasingly being purchased by hospitals. This may result in higher total spending on care.
Project description:Utilization of cardiac services varies across regions and hospitals, yet little is known regarding variation in the intensity of outpatient cardiac care across cardiology physician practices or the association with clinical endpoints, an area of potential importance to promote efficient care.We included 7 160 732 Medicare beneficiaries who received services from 5635 cardiology practices in 2012. Beneficiaries were assigned to practices providing the plurality of office visits, and practices were ranked and assigned to quartiles using the ratio of observed to predicted annual payments per beneficiary for common cardiac services (outpatient intensity index). The median (interquartile range) outpatient intensity index was 1.00 (0.81-1.24). Mean payments for beneficiaries attributed to practices in the highest (Q4) and lowest (Q1) quartile of outpatient intensity were: all cardiac payments (Q4 $1272 vs Q1 $581; ratio, 2.2); cardiac catheterization (Q4 $215 vs Q1 $64; ratio, 3.4); myocardial perfusion imaging (Q4 $253 vs Q1 $83; ratio, 3.0); and electrophysiology device procedures (Q4 $353 vs Q1 $142; ratio, 2.5). The adjusted odds ratios (95% CI) for 1 incremental quartile of outpatient intensity for each outcome was: cardiac surgical/procedural hospitalization (1.09 [1.09, 1.10]); cardiac medical hospitalization (1.00 [0.99, 1.00]); noncardiac hospitalization (0.99 [0.99, 0.99]); and death at 1 year (1.00 [0.99, 1.00]).Substantial variation in the intensity of outpatient care exists at the cardiology practice level, and higher intensity is not associated with reduced mortality or hospitalizations. Outpatient cardiac care is a potentially important target for efforts to improve efficiency in the Medicare population.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To investigate whether the US News & World Report (USNWR) ranking of the medical school a physician attended is associated with patient outcomes and healthcare spending. DESIGN:Observational study. SETTING:Medicare, 2011-15. PARTICIPANTS:20% random sample of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries aged 65 years or older (n=996?212), who were admitted as an emergency to hospital with a medical condition and treated by general internists. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:Association between the USNWR ranking of the medical school a physician attended and the physician's patient outcomes (30 day mortality and 30 day readmission rates) and Medicare Part B spending, adjusted for patient and physician characteristics and hospital fixed effects (which effectively compared physicians practicing within the same hospital). A sensitivity analysis employed a natural experiment by focusing on patients treated by hospitalists, because patients are plausibly randomly assigned to hospitalists based on their specific work schedules. Alternative rankings of medical schools based on social mission score or National Institute of Health (NIH) funding were also investigated. RESULTS:996?212 admissions treated by 30?322 physicians were examined for the analysis of mortality. When using USNWR primary care rankings, physicians who graduated from higher ranked schools had slightly lower 30 day readmission rates (adjusted rate 15.7% for top 10 schools v 16.1% for schools ranked ?50; adjusted risk difference 0.4%, 95% confidence interval 0.1% to 0.8%; P for trend=0.005) and lower spending (adjusted Part B spending $1029 (£790; €881) v $1066; adjusted difference $36, 95% confidence interval $20 to $52; P for trend <0.001) compared with graduates of lower ranked schools, but no difference in 30 day mortality. When using USNWR research rankings, physicians graduating from higher ranked schools had slightly lower healthcare spending than graduates from lower ranked schools, but no differences in patient mortality or readmissions. A sensitivity analysis restricted to patients treated by hospitalists yielded similar findings. Little or no relation was found between alternative rankings (based on social mission score or NIH funding) and patient outcomes or costs of care. CONCLUSIONS:Overall, little or no relation was found between the USNWR ranking of the medical school from which a physician graduated and subsequent patient mortality or readmission rates. Physicians who graduated from highly ranked medical schools had slightly lower spending than graduates of lower ranked schools.
Project description:To evaluate impact of the Maryland Multipayor Patient-centered Medical Home Program (MMPP) on: (1) quality, utilization, and costs of care; (2) beneficiaries' experiences and satisfaction with care; and (3) perceptions of providers.4-year quasiexperimental design with a difference-in-differences analytic approach to compare changes in outcomes between MMPP practices and propensity score-matched comparisons; pre-post design for patient-reported outcomes among MMPP beneficiaries.Beneficiaries (Medicaid-insured and privately insured) and providers in 52 MMPP practices and 104 matched comparisons in Maryland.Participating practices received unconditional financial support and coaching to facilitate functioning as medical homes, membership in a learning collaborative to promote education and dissemination of best practices, and performance-based payments.Sixteen quality, 20 utilization, and 13 cost measures from administrative data; patient-reported outcomes on care delivery, trust in provider, access to care, and chronic illness management; and provider perceptions of team operation, team culture, satisfaction with care provided, and patient-centered medical home transformation.The MMPP had mixed impact on site-level quality and utilization measures. Participation was significantly associated with lower inpatient and outpatient payments in the first year among privately insured beneficiaries, and for the entire duration among Medicaid beneficiaries. There was indication that MMPP practices shifted responsibility for certain administrative tasks from clinicians to medical assistants or care managers. The program had limited effect on measures of patient satisfaction (although response rates were low) and on provider perceptions.The MMPP demonstrated mixed results of its impact and indicated differential program effects for privately insured and Medicaid beneficiaries.
Project description:To examine the influence of physician and hospital market structures on medical technology diffusion, studying the diffusion of drug-eluting stents (DESs), which became available in April 2003.Medicare claims linked to physician demographic data from the American Medical Association and to hospital characteristics from the American Hospital Association Survey.Retrospective claims data analyses.All fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries who received a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) with a cardiac stent in 2003 or 2004. Each PCI record was joined to characteristics on the patient, the procedure, the cardiologist, and the hospital where the PCI was delivered. We accounted for the endogeneity of physician and hospital market structure using exogenous variation in the distances between patient, physician, and hospital locations. We estimated multivariate linear probability models that related the use of a DES in the PCI on market structure while controlling for patient, physician, and hospital characteristics.DESs diffused faster in markets where cardiology practices faced more competition. Conversely, we found no evidence that the structure of the hospital market mattered.Competitive pressure to maintain or expand PCI volume shares compelled cardiologists to adopt DESs more quickly.