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The Value of Coming Together - Part 2

Last week I told you how fortunate I was to attend the AAWC’s 2nd Pressure Ulcer Summit (PrU Summit) in Atlanta. Along with three colleagues and nearly 200 others, we learned about the latest research, thinking, and best in class approaches to the challenges of managing pressure ulcers. Today I wish to share a few of the key learnings I took away from the Summit.
 
Day one of the conference brought a lot of excitement about the topic of pressure ulcers.  In the room were researchers, physical therapists, physicians, surgeons, nurses, nurse practitioners, product specialists, and administrators from across the world.  The first presentation gave us a patient’s perspective on the issue of pressure ulcers. That set the stage for the remainder of the conference.  An important feature of the PrU Summit was learning how to make pressure ulcer prevention and treatment meaningful to the patient and individualizing care plans and treatment modalities. The remainder of the day was filled with research information on pressure-induced tissue damage both at the micro and macro level.  Most compelling was the research on offloading, including important patient considerations when determining how to offload and the choice of an offloading device to best fit the clinical situation.  
 
I also enjoyed being able to spend time with the pharmaceutical and wound care product vendors during the exhibit hours. It is important to nurture positive collaboration with corporate supporters and vendors. These interactions provide a mutual benefit. Companies can learn more about the challenges we face in wound care practice, taking this information to their teams to improve and advance product development in support of clinical practice and patient needs. In turn, these companies provide clinicians with important research and data to help drive evidence-based practice.  
 
Using the detailed research information from Day 1, the second day brought it all to a practical level.  One of my favorite sessions was the Topical and First Line Treatment program with Kelly Jaszarowski, MSN, RN, CNS, ANP, CWOCN & Stephanie Yates, MSN, RN, ANP-BC, CWOCN, which included ample audience participation. It is so good to hear from a room of clinicians what their practice, experience and opinions are, and then to have that conversation brought back to where the evidence is for those interventions. This interactive program also spawned a great conversation on wound cleansing, wound infection and biofilms, providing AAWC President Tom Serena the opportunity to remind attendees there is more to be learned at the Wound Infection Summit planned for April 26-27, 2019 back here in Atlanta.
 
There were many other take home points and practical applications offered including when surgical interventions for pressure ulcers are warranted; post-acute care considerations including choice of facility; the role of the outpatient wound center in navigating the treatment plan; and tips to secure insurance coverage for durable medical equipment. And that is where the information learned and experiences shared during the PrU Summit take us from here.  Participants left armed with new ideas and strategies to apply in their practices when they return to work. The PrU Summit also spawned research ideas to address new treatment and patient care questions that arose from the presentations and conversations. Wound care requires good research and guidelines that enable us to prevent and treat pressure ulcers while individualizing the plan to each patient, our staff, and our institution.  I invite all of us to come together to take a place at the table at future AAWC summits to discuss the questions, challenges, and research surrounding pressure ulcers.

The Value of Coming Together - Part 1

This past weekend I was lucky enough to have my hospital (Reading Hospital, part of Tower Health System) support the attendance of not only myself, but of three additional nurses from my institution at the AAWC Pressure Ulcer (PrU) Summit. Amy, the nursing quality coordinator, Sylvia, a surgical Intensive Care Clinical Nurse Specialist, and Eileen, the medical intensive care unit clinical nurse specialist are NOT wound care specialists.  The vision of our institution is that engaging the entire team will help us drive change that is meaningful, hence my decision to have our team join me at the AAWC PrU Summit.  

My team and I found ourselves in the company of more than 200 clinicians representing institutions across the U.S., including individuals and teams from many practice areas and professional levels. In addition to attending the conference, we also attended the Pre-Summit Workshop titled PrU Prevention Programs: Justify, Quantify, Strategize.  There we heard from an international team that practices in a variety of settings that face challenges very similar to ours in the states. 

One of the greatest things about this conference is that we are not here to complain about the problems of our specialties.  We all know the challenges of patient care and of our practices.  Everyone in the room is here for solutions and to discover what other colleagues are doing that works well.  We learn about how external factors such as regulatory bodies, scientific studies and other published works can augment or hinder our practices.  As a wound care specialist, I was concerned whether my Tower Health colleagues would find the Summit beneficial. My passion for wound, ostomy, and continence care drive my desire to learn more. I should not have worried. Each reported learning something different but applicable from the Summit and agreed they would bring back learnings which would help in their day to day practice areas.  

There is extraordinary value in coming together. In listening to the challenges of others and learning how they have persevered through them and how our contributions and experiences can help others. Joining with researchers, physical therapists, physicians, surgeons, nurses, nurse practitioners, product specialists, and administrators, among others, we continue to drive the ever-changing and ever-improving specialty of wound care. And that is what I appreciated most about this conference.  You don’t know what you don’t know until you know what you don’t know.  

There is more to share about the take-aways from the Summit. Read more in next week’s blog!

What the Future May Look Like for Reimbursement

What the Future May Look Like For Reimbursement: A New Bundled-payment Demonstration Model  “Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced” (BPCI)
By Peggy Dotson

Over the last several years, you may have heard of, or participated in, various models for payment consolidation or episodic-payment approaches considered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). One of the most important goals at the CMS is “fostering an affordable and accessible healthcare system that puts patients first.” 

The latest model demonstration by the CMS began October 1, 2018 with multiple entities signing agreements (1,299) with the CMS to participate in the new “Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced” (BPCI) model. This new federal bundled-pay initiative aims to improve patient care in both hospitals and post-acute care while lowering overall costs. A bundled payment methodology involves combining the payments for physician, hospital, and other health care provider services into a single bundled payment amount.

The first cohort of Participants began on October 1, 2018 with a model period performance to run through to December 31, 2023. Participants include 832 acute care hospitals (including Trinity Health, Adventist Health System and Tenet) and 715 physician group practices. (See Attachment A for full list). The CMS will provide a second application opportunity in January 2020.

How the New Bundled Payment Will Work

The participating entities will receive bundled payments for certain episodes-of-care as an alternative to fee-for-service payments, which was authorized through Section 3021 of the Affordable Care Act.

BPCI Advanced aims to encourage clinicians to redesign care delivery by adopting best practices, reducing variation from standards of care, and providing a clinically appropriate level of services for patients throughout a Clinical Episode. This single payment amount is calculated based on the expected costs of all items and services furnished to a beneficiary during an episode of care. The intent of a single bundled payment to health care providers is to motivate health care providers to furnish services efficiently, to better coordinate care, and to improve the quality of care.

Healthcare providers receiving a bundled payment may either realize a gain or loss, depending on how successfully they manage resources and total costs throughout each episode-of-care. This concept is not too dissimilar to the current Home Health Prospective Payment for a 60-day episode-of-care.  

A bundled payment also creates an incentive for providers and suppliers to coordinate and deliver care more efficiently because a single bundled payment will often cover services furnished by various health care providers in multiple care delivery settings.

BPCI Advanced will operate under a total-cost-of-care concept, in which the total Medicare fee for services (FFS) spending on all items and services furnished to a BPCI Advanced Beneficiary during the Clinical Episode, including outlier payments, will be part of the Clinical Episode expenditures for purposes of the Target Price and reconciliation calculations, unless specifically excluded.

Under the new BPCI Advanced demonstration, the CMS will pay providers a known fixed amount for an episode-of-care.

  • The episode-of-care could start with an initial hospital admission or an outpatient procedure and includes all care during the next 90 days.
  • Providers will be paid a benchmark price and can keep savings minus 3%.
  • Savings payments will be adjusted based on performance on seven quality measures. The Quality Measures selected for the BPCI Advanced model include:
All-cause Hospital Readmission Measure (NQF #1789) Hospital 30-Day, All-Cause, Risk-Standardized Mortality Rate (RSMR) Following Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery (NQF #2558)
Advanced Care Plan (NQF #0326) Excess Days in Acute Care after Hospitalization for Acute Myocardial Infarction (NQF #2881)
Perioperative Care: Selection of Prophylactic Antibiotic: First or Second Generation Cephalosporin (NQF #0268) AHRQ Patient Safety Indicators (PSI 90)
Hospital-Level Risk-Standardized Complication Rate (RSCR) Following Elective Primary Total Hip Arthroplasty (THA) and/or Total Knee Arthroplasty (TKA) (NQF #1550)  

NOTE: The All-cause Hospital Readmission Measure and Advance Care Plan are required for all Clinical Episodes. The other five quality measures only apply to select Clinical Episodes.

  • If the participant exceeds the target amount, they would be penalized up to 20% of costs.

Hospitals and doctors can now receive bundled payment for up to 29 different clinical episodes. The 29 Inpatient Clinical Episodes includes:

Disorders of the liver excluding malignancy, cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis Gastrointestinal obstruction
Acute myocardial infarction Hip & femur procedures except major joint
Back & neck except spinal fusion Lower extremity/humerus procedure except hip, foot, femur
Cardiac arrhythmia Major bowel procedure
Cardiac defibrillator Major joint replacement of the lower extremity
Cardiac valve Major joint replacement of the upper extremity
Cellulitis Pacemaker
Cervical spinal fusion Percutaneous coronary intervention
COPD, bronchitis, asthma Renal failure
Combined anterior posterior spinal fusion Sepsis
Congestive heart failure Simple pneumonia and respiratory infections
Coronary artery bypass graft Spinal fusion (non-cervical)
Double joint replacement of the lower extremity Stroke
Fractures of the femur and hip or pelvis Urinary tract infection
Gastrointestinal hemorrhage  

 
The Three Outpatient Clinical Episodes includes:

  • Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI)
  • Cardiac Defibrillator
  • Back & Neck except Spinal Fusion

Reconciliation will be a semi-annual process where CMS will compare the aggregate Medicare Fee For Service (FFS) expenditures for all items and services included in a Clinical Episode against the ‘target price’ for that Clinical Episode to determine whether the Participant is eligible to receive a payment from CMS, or is required to pay a Repayment Amount to CMS.

This demonstration, which runs through December 31, 2023 will be the basis for a Go or No-Go decision to expand the demonstration, or expand the clinical episodes as part of the demonstration (could include wound care related clinical issues) or, enacting regulations to change the way hospitals and doctors will be paid for select clinical episodes.  

Conclusion

All in all, the CMS is continually evaluating more efficient ways to pay providers (hospitals, physicians/ other qualified healthcare providers) and suppliers for the healthcare services of the Medicare and Medicaid population. It is likely that certain wound care clinical episodes, especially in the outpatient setting, could be selected by the CMS for evaluation as part of this demonstration in the future.  It may be wise for wound care specialists to begin to look at their population of patients and understand the common aspects and deliverables of the care they receive across a 90-day period, as a marker for a potential ‘episode-of-care’ model. Better to begin to think in this vain rather than be blindsided a few years down the road.