From Grant Medical Center (Dr. Wasielewski, Dr. Polonia, Ms. Barca, Ms. Cebriak, Ms. Lucki), and OhioHealth Group (Mr. Rogers, Ms. St. John, Dr. Gascon), Columbus, OH.
- Background: Organizations participating in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Bundled Payment for Care Improvement (BPCI) initiative enter into payment arrangements that include financial and performance accountability for episodes of care. There is growing evidence that the use of these payment incentives reduces spending for episodes of care while maintaining or improving quality. A recent study of BPCI and quality outcomes in joint replacement episodes found that nearly all the reduction in spending within BPCI hospitals was generated from the reduced use of institutional post-acute care (eg, skilled nursing facilities [SNF], long-term care facilities, and inpatient rehabilitation facilities).
- Objective: To describe a pilot program designed to reduce the utilization of institutional post-acute care for total joint replacement surgical patients.
- Methods: A multidisciplinary intervention team optimized scheduling, preadmission testing, patient communication, and patient education along a total joint replacement care pathway.
- Results: Among Medicare patients, total discharges to a SNF fell from 39.5% (70/177) in the baseline period to 17.7% (34/192) in the performance period. The risk of SNF utilization among patients in the intervention period was nearly half (0.45; 95% confidence interval, 0.314-0.639) that of patients in the baseline period. Using Fisher’s exact test and a 2-tailed test, this reduction was found to be significant (P < 0.0001). The readmission rate was substantially lower than national norms.
- Conclusion: Optimizing patient care throughout the care pathway using the concerted efforts of a multidisciplinary team is possible given a common vision, shared goals, and clearly communicated expectations.
Keywords: arthroplasty; readmissions; Medicare; post-acute care; Bundled Payment for Care Improvement.
Quality improvement in health care is partially dependent upon processes that standardize episodes of care. This is especially true in the post–acute care setting, where efforts to increase patient engagement and care coordination can improve a patient’s recovery process. One framework for optimizing patient care across an episode of care is the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Bundled Payment for Care Improvement (BPCI) initiative, which links payments for the multiple services patients receive during an episode of care. Organizations participating in the BPCI initiative enter into payment arrangements that include financial and performance accountability for episodes of care. The BPCI initiative provides a framework for episodes of care across multiple types of facilities and clinicians over periods of time (30-day, 60-day, and 90-day episodes).1-5 Evidence that the use of these payment incentives reduces spending for episodes of care while maintaining or improving quality is accumulating. A recent study of BPCI and quality outcomes in joint replacement episodes found that nearly all the reduction in spending within BPCI hospitals was generated from the reduced use of institutional post-acute care, such as skilled nursing facilities (SNF), long-term care facilities, and inpatient rehabilitation facilities.1
Our hospital, the Grant Medical Center, which is part of the OhioHealth system, had agreed to participate in the CMS BPCI–Advanced Model for major joint replacement of the lower extremity, with a start date of October 1, 2018. Prior to adopting this bundled payment and service delivery model for major joint replacement through the BPCI program, we implemented strategic interventions to improve the efficiency of care delivery and reduce post-acute utilization. Although the BPCI program applied only to Medicare patients, the interventions that were developed, implemented, and evaluated in this quality improvement project, which we describe in this article, were provided to all patients who underwent lower-extremity joint replacement, regardless of payer.
Prior to developing and implementing the intervention, a gap analysis was performed to determine differences between Grant Medical Center’s care pathway/processes and evidence-based best practice. A steering committee comprised of physician champions, rehabilitation services, senior leadership from the Bone and Joint Center, and care management was gathered. The gap analysis examined the care paths in the preoperative phase, index admission phase, and the post-acute phase of care. Findings of the gap analysis included an underutilized joint education class, overutilization of SNF placement, and lack of key resources to assess the needs of patients prior to surgery.
The Grant Bone and Joint Center offered a comprehensive joint education class in person, but also gave patients the option of utilizing an online learning source. While both were successful, staff believed the in-person class had a greater impact than the online version. Patients who attended the class completed a preoperative assessment by hand, which included a social assessment for identifying potential challenges prior to admission. However, because class attendance was low (< 10%), this assessment tool was not utilized until the patient’s admission in most cases. The gap analysis also identified that the educational content of the class lacked key points to encourage a home-going plan.