The Cost of Patient-Reported Outcomes

In a January 25, 2018 post in NEJM Catalyst, authors Judith F. Baumhauer, MD, MPH, Christopher Dasilva, BS, David Mitten, MD, Paul Rubery, MD & Michael Rotondo, MD outline the several options and costs of implementing patient-reported outcomes in a clinical practice.  The authors outline the costs of a custom-built, an EHR solution, and standalone commercial product, citing the costs, advantages and disadvantages of each.

 

Medicare publishes final rule on the Quality Payment Program

The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) finalized a new payment system for Medicare clinicians that will continue to reform how the health care system pays for care. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) Quality Payment Program, which replaces the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), is designed to consolidate the SGR, Meaningful Use, and the Value Modifier into a single alternative payment system.  According to the HHS press release, the Administration is building a system that delivers better care, one in which clinicians work together and have a full understanding of patients’ needs, Medicare pays for what works and spends taxpayer money more wisely, and patients are in the center of their care, resulting in a healthier country.

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Medicare starts new method to pay for hip, knee replacement surgeries

Medicare on Friday launches an experiment changing how it pays for hip and knee replacements in an effort to raise quality and lower costs.  The idea is to follow patients more closely to smooth their recovery and head off unwanted complications that increase costs.

Hip and knee replacements are the most common inpatient surgery for beneficiaries, and Medicare will be using financial rewards and penalties to foster coordination among hospitals, doctors, and rehab centers. Traditional payment for such surgeries has been by tying payment to the volume of procedures.  Medicare says that Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model tests bundled payment and quality measurement for an episode of care associated with hip and knee replacements to encourage hospitals, physicians, and post-acute care providers to work together to improve the quality and coordination of care from the initial hospitalization through recovery.

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CMS reports positive shared savings results for primary care value initiative

According to a blog by Patrick Conway, CMS Deputy Administrator for Innovation and Quality and Chief Medical Officer, CMS is showing promising results for the first shared savings performance year of the Comprehensive Primary Care (CPC) model.  The initiative was launched in October 2012 to advance primary care by paying clinicians to deliver accessible, comprehensive and coordinated care and is part of CMS's broader effort to promote better care, smarter spending, and healthier people.

In performance year 2014, CPC practices showed positive quality results, with hospital readmissions lower than national benchmarks and high performance on patient experience measures, particularly on provider communication with patients and timely access to care. CPC practices that demonstrated high quality care and reduced spending above a threshold shared in savings generated for Medicare.

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Additional participants in CMS bundled payments pilot

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service (CMS) announced that over 2,100 acute care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, physician group practices, long-term care hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and home health agencies transitioned to a risk-bearing implementation period in which they assumed financial risk for episodes of care.

Participants include 360 organizations that have entered into agreements with CMS to participate in the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative and an additional 1,755 providers who have partnered with those organizations. CMS defines an episode of care as the set of services provided to treat a clinical condition or procedure, such as a heart bypass surgery or a hip replacement.

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