Results of a Medicare Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Readmissions

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Abstract

Rationale:

Approximately 20% of Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized for acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are readmitted within 30 days of discharge. In addition to implementing penalties for excess readmissions, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has developed Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) initiatives to improve outcomes and control costs.

Objectives:

To evaluate whether a comprehensive COPD multidisciplinary intervention focusing on inpatient, transitional, and outpatient care as part of our institution's BPCI participation would reduce 30-day all-cause readmission rates for COPD exacerbations and reduce overall costs.

Methods:

We performed a pre-postintervention study comparing all-cause readmissions and costs after index hospitalization for Medicare-only patients with acute exacerbation of COPD. The primary outcome was the difference in 30-day all-cause readmission rate compared with historical control subjects; secondary outcomes included the 90-day all-cause readmission rate and also health care costs compared with BPCI target prices.

Results:

Seventy-eight consecutive Medicare patients were prospectively enrolled in the BPCI intervention in 2014 and compared with 109 patients in the historical group from 2012. Patients in BPCI were more likely to receive regular follow-up phone calls, pneumococcal and influenza vaccines, home health care, durable medical equipment, and pulmonary rehabilitation, and to attend pulmonary clinic. There was no difference in all-cause readmission rates at 30 days (BPCI, 12 events [15.4%] vs. non-BPCI, 19 events [17.4%]; P = 0.711), and 90 days (21 [26.9%] vs. 37 [33.9%]; P = 0.306). Compared with BPCI target prices, we incurred 4.3% lower 90-day costs before accounting for significant investment from the health system.

Conclusions:

A Medicare BPCI intervention did not reduce 30-day all-cause readmission rates or overall costs after hospitalization for acute exacerbation of COPD. Although additional studies enrolling larger numbers of patients at multiple centers may demonstrate the efficacy of our BPCI initiative for COPD readmissions, this is unlikely to be cost effective at any single center.

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