Reengineering valve patients' postdischarge management for adapting to bundled payment models

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Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) initiatives were developed by Medicare in an effort to reduce expenditures while preserving quality of care. Payment model 2 reimburses based on a target price for 90-day episode of care postprocedure. The challenge for valve patients is the historically high (>35%) 90-day readmission rate. We analyzed our institutional cardiac surgical service line adaptation to this initiative.


On May 1, 2015, we instituted a readmission reduction initiative (RRI) that included presurgical risk stratification, comprehensive predischarge planning, and standardized postdischarge management led by cardiac nurse practitioners (CNPs) who attempt to guide any postdischarge encounters (PDEs). A prospective database also was developed, accruing data on all cardiac surgery patients discharged after RRI initiation. We analyzed detailed PDEs for all valve patients with complete 30-day follow-up through November 2015.


Patients included 219 surgical patients and 126 transcatheter patients. Sixty-four patients had 79 PDEs. Of these 79 PDEs, 46 (58.2%) were guided by CNPs. PDEs were due to fluid overload/effusion (21, 27%), arrhythmia (17, 22%), bleeding/thromboembolic events (13, 16%), and falls/somatic complaints (12, 15%). Thirty-day readmission rate was 10.1% (35/345). Patients with transcatheter aortic valve replacement had a higher rate of readmission than surgical patients (15.0% vs 6.9%), but were older with more comorbidities. The median readmission length of stay was 2.0 days (interquartile range 1.0–5.0 days). Compared with 2014, the 30-day readmission rate for BPCI decreased from 18% (44/248) to 11% (20/175), P = .05.


Our reengineering of pre/postdischarge management of BPCI valve patients under tight CNP control has significantly reduced costly 30-day readmissions in this high-risk population.

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