Pay-for-performance

Risks and Rewards of Hospitalist Participation in New CMS Bundle Model

by Win Whitcomb, MD, MHM
By: Win Whitcomb, MD, MHM Hospitalist groups have been among the highest volume participants in Medicare’s Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) demonstration project, initiating almost 200,000 episodes representing over $4.7B in spending since the model began1. On January 9, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced BPCI’s follow-on model, ‘BPCI Advanced’,2 which starts in October of this year and is slated to finish at year-end 2023. CMS intends for the program to qualify as an Advanced Alternative Payment Model (APM). As BPCI Advanced focuses on 29 common medical and surgical episodes involving an inpatient stay (it also includes three outpatient episodes) and the subsequent 90 day recovery period, it represents the first large scale opportunity for hospitalists to meet criteria for Advanced APM participation. Qualifying for the Advanced APM track of the Quality Payment Program – which involves meeting patient volume or payment thresholds3 - comes with a…
Author Win Whitcomb, MD, MHM is Chief Medical Officer of Remedy Partners. He is co-founder and past president of SHM. Email him at [email protected]

You Have Lowered Length of Stay. Congratulations. You’re Fired.

For several decades, providers working within hospitals have had incentives to reduce stay durations and keep patient flow tip-top. DRG-based and capitated payments expedited that shift. Accompanying the change, physicians became more aware of the potential repercussions of sicker and quicker discharges. They began to monitor their care and as best as possible, use what measures they could ascertain as a proxy for quality (readmissions and hospital acquired conditions). Providers balanced the harms of a continued stay over the benefits of added days, not to mention the need for cost savings. However, the narrow focus on the hospital stay, the first three to seven days of illness, distracted us from the out weeks after discharge. With the acceleration of inpatient episodes, we cast patients to post-acute settings unprepared for the hardship they would face. By the latter, I mean, frailty risk, more reliance on others for help, and a greater need…

A New Face For Online Modules

It is hard for me to get excited by online modules. Perhaps my reflex repulsion stems from my experience – ok, experiences – completing online traffic school courses. Those timers forcing you to stay on a page for a specific amount of time. The quizzes that might not actually teach you anything. Maybe you are a more cautious driver than I am, but if so, just think of the last time you had to complete a mandatory online module for your hospital. I doubt it gripped your attention. The future of education may increasingly be online, but I am unconvinced that mandatory online modules are a format that will change the world. This is why I have spent so much time working with innovative teams to develop interactive learning modules that do not feel like online modules. Vinny Arora and I recently described on this blog our Costs of Care…

We Are All Accomplices In The Great American Coding Swindle

"Membership in the American Academy of Professional Coders has risen to more than 170,000 today from roughly 70,000 in 2008." "The AMA owns the copyright to CPT, the code used by doctors. It publishes coding books and dictionaries. It also creates new codes when doctors want to charge for a new procedure. It levies a licensing fee on billing companies for using CPT codes on bills. Royalties for CPT codes, along with revenues from other products, are the association’s biggest single source of income" Aint that something? Okay, I would rank Elizabeth Rosenthal up there with Atul Gawande and Lisa Rosenbaum in the pantheon of standout healthcare writers active today.  They are all docs and have more skill in their writing pinky than I have in my entire body. They have a unique talent in stitching together narratives that speak to both docs and patients in their language--and do it within…

Dont Compare HM Group Part B Costs Hospital to Hospital. It’s About the Variation Between Individuals.

I have been and will be light on the blogging these days.  However, a new JAMA online first study out looking at hospitalist Part B cost variation deserves some attention.  Bestill my heart.  It's not about groups.  It's about individual physicians.  The gap between high- and low-spending doctors in the same hospital was larger than the gap in spending between hospitals. From the editorial: In this issue, Tsugawa et al3 analyze spending by individual physicians in relation to patient outcomes. The research team compared Medicare Part B spending per hospitalization by hospitalists practicing within the same hospital. To profile each physician’s level of spending, average Part B spending per hospitalization for 2011 and 2012 was used, then applied to clinical outcomes (30-day readmission and 30-day mortality rates) for 2013 and 2014. The split-sample approach mitigates bias if a physician treats a complex set of patients in one year and therefore has…
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