The recent remarkable success of a patient-centered medical home project in Fresno demonstrates the effectiveness of pairing the PCMH care delivery model with a blended payment model. The California Academy of Family Physicians, a partner in the project, is calling on public and private payers to adopt this payment model and support PCMH development that delivers higher-quality, lower-cost care.
CAFP also is calling on the State of California to use its policies and resources to encourage the adoption of this payment model.
The Fresno PCMH project, launched in July 2012, is a collaboration of CAFP, the self-insured Fresno Unified School District and the primary care physician group, Community Medical Providers. Among 2,500 patients (10% of FUSD’s beneficiaries), several care measures were substantially improved while savings totaled nearly $1 million over 12 months.
The goals were to improve the quality of care in specific disease areas including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and behavioral health; improve prevention and medication adherence; and reduce costs associated with emergency room visits, hospital admissions and prescription drugs.
The blended payment model included three tiers: fee-for-service; a $10 per-member-per-month fee for care coordination, increased access and health information technology; and bonus payments for achieving quality improvements and cost reductions.
At the end of the year-long pilot, the number of patients with diabetes for whom blood sugar had been confirmed as under control increased by 50%. Among patients with diabetes and patients with HIV, blood pressure control and LDL control increased significantly. Breast cancer screening and body mass index counseling increased across the entire patient population and patient satisfaction improved.
Medication adherence among high-risk members increased, high-risk member costs decreased, overall inpatient admissions and emergency department visits decreased, and the cost of total claims decreased by 9% for a gross savings of $972,519.
These goals were achieved because of key practice changes, made possible by the blended payment model, including adding a complex case manager who proactively reached out to high-risk patients; a quality improvement coach who coordinated ongoing change measurement, management and feedback; and patient registries to better track care.
These primary care physician practices successfully made improvements in areas that the literature and past experience show often are difficult to change. CAFP and its partners now are expanding these efforts to support other practices in improving care while decreasing costs. To make this possible, we seek other payers to partner with us.
The state can play an important role in encouraging the growth of medical homes and payment that supports them, including through the State Innovation Model Initiative. The state also has the unique ability to convene payers and enable them to act as a group, adopt this model expansively and support a statewide PCMH project.