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MVC Showcases Recent Work at Obesity Summit, Poster Session

MVC Showcases Recent Work at Obesity Summit, Poster Session

Michigan Value Collaborative data and efforts were on display this week as Coordinating Center staff attended the Learning Health System (LHS) Collaboratory Seminar Series Poster Session on Thursday and the Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative (MBSC) / Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan 2022 Obesity Management Summit on Friday. At each event, MVC was able to highlight some of its recent work.

At the LHS Collaboratory poster session, MVC presented on behalf of the Michigan Cardiac Rehabilitation Network (MiCR), a partnership recently established by MVC and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Cardiovascular Consortium (BMC2) with the aim to equitably increase cardiac rehabilitation participation for all eligible individuals in Michigan. Cardiac rehabilitation is highly beneficial to patients and cost-saving for the healthcare system, yet it is significantly underutilized in Michigan with only about 30% of eligible patients enrolling following a cardiac procedure. Using claims data, MVC can assess whether and when someone enrolls, and how long they keep going. There is wide variability in enrollment between MVC’s member hospitals as well as across cardiac conditions. The focus of the poster (see Figure 1) was a recent publication co-authored by MVC and BMC2 staff, which evaluated the feasibility of a statewide collaboration to improve cardiac rehabilitation participation. The poster summarized the key services provided by the MiCR collaboration and some of the lessons learned thus far about barriers to and facilitators of improvement. It also promoted the new statewide goal of 40% cardiac rehabilitation participation by 2024 for all eligible conditions - a goal set by MVC and BMC2. More details on this statewide goal and MiCR’s activities are summarized here.

Figure 1.

For Friday’s Obesity Summit, several MVC products were on display, including two recent analyses performed in partnership with MBSC. The two CQIs recently collaborated on a statewide improvement assessment about the impact of bariatric surgery on prescription fills for diabetes medications. Much of the evidence in the literature suggests that bariatric surgery may resolve or improve Type 2 diabetes symptoms in a large proportion of patients. MVC used its claims data to compare pre- and post-surgery receipt of diabetes medications, as well as the estimated cost savings to health insurance providers that could be attributed to a decrease in post-surgery diabetes medication prescription fills. There was a significant decrease in prescription fills for any diabetes medication (p<.001) from the 120 days pre-surgery to the 120 days post-surgery (see Figure 2).

Figure 2.

Furthermore, insurance providers in Michigan saved an estimated $76.5 million on diabetes medications in the 360 days following bariatric surgeries in 2015-2021, based on the average decrease in diabetes prescription payments per patient, the number of bariatric surgeries performed in that timeframe, and the proportion of bariatric surgery patients who have diabetes. These results provided evidence of statewide clinical outcome improvement and cost savings for Type 2 diabetes patients following bariatric surgery. The full summary of this analysis is available here.

MVC partnered with MBSC on a similar analysis of opioid medication use that was also highlighted at the 2022 Obesity Summit. MBSC has been working to reduce opioid utilization and prescribing following bariatric surgeries across Michigan for the past five years. Some of their strategies include an opioid value-based metric and a voluntary enhanced recovery initiative that incorporates evidence-based guidelines for pre-, peri-, post-operative, and post-discharge care of bariatric surgery patients. This includes a recommendation of prescribing no more than 75 morphine milligram equivalents (MME) of oral opiate following surgery - a recommendation consistent with surgery-specific guidelines set by the Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network (OPEN).

In evaluating the impact of MBSC’s opioid reduction work, analysts identified that the average amount of opioids received in 30-day post-surgery outpatient prescriptions decreased from 297.0 MME in 2015 to 65.4 MME in 2021. The percentage of patients receiving more than the recommended threshold of 75 MME decreased from 75.8% to 17.9% of bariatric surgery patients. Furthermore, hospitals that participated in MBSC’s enhanced recovery initiative saw the rate of patients receiving opioid amounts above 75 MME decrease more sharply than the rate at other hospitals (p=0.02) (see Figure 3). Given these findings, MVC estimated that MBSC’s efforts resulted in $12.5 million in cost savings because of reduced opioid prescribing after bariatric surgery. The full summary of this analysis is available here.

Figure 3.

MVC will continue to leverage its robust claims data to further the goals of fellow Collaborative Quality Initiatives as well as MVC member hospitals and physician organizations. To stay informed about newly released analyses, resources, or projects, follow MVC Coordinating Center updates on Twitter or LinkedIn. To learn more about these projects or MVC’s reporting capabilities, contact the Coordinating Center at michiganvaluecollaborative@gmail.com.

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MVC and Members Promote Sepsis Awareness Month

MVC and Members Promote Sepsis Awareness Month

Throughout the month of September, providers and advocacy groups are calling attention to the prevalence and signs of sepsis, the body’s life-threatening response to infection. It is the leading cause of death in U.S. hospitals, taking the life of a patient every two minutes and affecting an estimated 49 million people every year worldwide. Despite this, at least one in every three adults has never heard of sepsis. That is why in 2011 the Sepsis Alliance officially designated September as Sepsis Awareness Month.

To support its member hospitals in improving their outcomes related to sepsis, MVC collaborated with the Michigan Hospital Medicine Safety Consortium (HMS) in 2019 to develop a sepsis episode definition for its registry. MVC then began distributing sepsis push reports in 2020 with regular refreshes each year. Hospitals received their latest sepsis reports in April, which showcased wide variation across the Collaborative for measures such as total episode payments and 90-day readmission rates (see Figure 1). In addition, hospitals received details on their inpatient mortality and discharge to hospice rates compared to their geographic region and the Collaborative as a whole (see Figure 2). More information about this report was detailed in a previous MVC blog post.

Figure 1.

Figure 2.

MVC also began hosting a sepsis workgroup in June 2019 to help facilitate idea and practice sharing among Collaborative members. MVC has continued to host sepsis workgroups since then, with the most recent workgroup taking place last week on September 8. That workgroup honored Sepsis Awareness Month with a member panel featuring guest speakers from several health systems in Michigan. Attendees learned about current sepsis initiatives underway at hospitals throughout the state as well as insights on the impact of COVID-19, sepsis screening, sepsis bundle compliance, transitions of care, and other related topics. Those unable to attend can view the complete recording of this panel and discussion here.

One area of focus for this year’s Sepsis Awareness Month is a Sepsis Alliance tool to help providers remember the signs and symptoms. Their acronym approach asks providers to remember, “It’s about T-I-M-E,” with the word “time” representing temperature, infection, mental decline, and extremely ill (see Figure 3).

Figure 3.

This resource and many others have been created, collated, and packaged by the Sepsis Alliance in their yearly Sepsis Awareness Month Toolkit. Hospitals and providers are encouraged to utilize these resources to help educate their staff and patients. The hope is that through public education we can raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of sepsis so people in our communities know when to seek emergency care. Together, we can help save lives and limbs from sepsis. Learn more at sepsisawarenessmonth.org. To contact the MVC Coordinating Center about your sepsis reports, future workgroup speakers, or other questions, please email michiganvaluecollaborative@gmail.com.

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BCBSM Initiative Incentivizes Data Collection on Social Factors

BCBSM Initiative Incentivizes Data Collection on Social Factors

Health equity is a top priority for providers across the country, who are keenly aware of the prevalence and exacerbation of existing health inequities. The state of Michigan in particular ranks poorly in measures of population health and social determinants of health (SDOH), which represent a huge opportunity to improve equity and health outcomes for patients. Health equity is currently a key strategic focus of the Michigan Value Collaborative (MVC) Coordinating Center in the years ahead, as well as for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM). As work in this area grows, some suggest that better data collection is the next critical step to improving health equity.

Data collection is the focus of BCBSM’s latest initiative - the SDOH Standardized Data Collection and Aggregation Initiative - which offers incentives to physician organizations (POs) for collecting and submitting SDOH screening data. Its goal is to increase SDOH screening by primary care physicians during annual wellness visits as well as enhance SDOH data submitted to the Michigan Health Information Network (MiHIN), Michigan's nonprofit statewide health information network.

This data will be used in the short term to improve data conformance and SDOH definitions within the Michigan provider community. Ideally, this initiative will help BCBSM to improve care coordination between providers, identify gaps in resources and community-level social need trends, and provide analytics and reporting to the provider community. The long-term goal is to reduce disparities and improve health outcomes.

There are multiple pathways for POs to participate, primarily by either submitting screening data through MiHIN’s SDOH use case, or by developing infrastructure to enable participation in MiHIN’s SDOH use case. BCBSM sees this incentive program as an important step toward ensuring all patients receive the care they need.

“The SDOH initiative is valuable for both patients and providers because it encourages providers to screen for SDOH needs in patients and also encourages that the data from these screenings is exchanged in an interoperable way,” said Karolina Skrzypek, MD, Medical Director of Clinical Partnerships at BCBSM. “It is very important that providers across the state of Michigan have the ability to access SDOH screening data regardless of where the screening took place. Screening for SDOH needs by providers is the first step in helping to address these needs in our patients.”

These points were echoed by Martha M. Walsh, MD, MHSA, FACOG, Medical Director of Clinical Partnerships and Engagement at BCBSM, who said, “We know that when patients have SDOH needs, that it is more difficult for them to have their healthcare needs met and for patients to care for their chronic conditions. Our initial goal in having providers screen for SDOH needs is for patients to have their needs addressed at the point of care.”

Some POs are already actively submitting this data to MiHIN and can receive incentive payments for continuing to do so. The other pathways are focused on those who have capacity to store and extract SDOH data but are not submitting it to MiHIN, or those POs who don’t yet have the digital infrastructure in place. Helping all POs to achieve a similar capacity and submit their data to the same vendor will allow for a broader understanding of the gaps and communities in need of further funding.

“By aggregating this data, we hope to learn more about specific domains of need and geographic areas with the most needs so that we can start to address these more broadly,” said Dr. Walsh. “We hope that by screening for and addressing SDOH needs, we will start to be able to decrease disparities in care for our most vulnerable patients.”

Incentives for the MiHIN SDOH use case pathways are paid out of the BCBSM Physician Group Incentive Program (PGIP) reward pool. Therefore, any deadlines related to participation are based on PGIP payment cycles. Those POs wishing to participate in the October 2022 cycle should submit their opt-in form and any other required materials by the end of August.

A separate value-based reimbursement (VBR) reward was created specifically for patient-centered medical home (PCMH) designated primary care physicians for completing SDOH screenings using Z codes. This VBR payment was available when the SDOH initiative launched in January. Provider offices had six months to work towards meeting the criteria to receive VBR effective 9/1/2022. Criteria for the 2023 cycle was previously announced and updates to the criteria will be provided during the upcoming BCBSM September PGIP quarterly meeting.

Any POs or providers interested in learning more about this initiative and the pathways for participating can read the full brochure here and submit questions directly to BCBSM at POPrograms@bcbsm.com. In addition, if your PO or hospital has success stories or insights that have resulted from collecting SDOH screening data, please consider sharing your story and insights with the MVC Coordinating Center at michiganvaluecollaborative@gmail.com.

Support for MVC is provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan as part of the BCBSM Value Partnerships program. Although BCBSM and MVC work collaboratively, the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of BCBSM or any of its employees. To learn more about the Value Partnerships program, visit www.valuepartnerships.com.

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Breastfeeding Awareness Month: The Value of Hospital Initiatives

Breastfeeding Awareness Month: The Value of Hospital Initiatives

As August is National Breastfeeding Month, many healthcare professionals and hospitals across the country are joining in to promote its benefits. Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusive breastfeeding of infants for the first six months of life and then alongside solids as long as mutually desired by mother and child for two years and beyond. This updated recommendation – the AAP previously recommended breastfeeding through age one and beyond – acknowledges its continued benefits for mother and child.

Many experts suggest that it is an investment in the health of current and future patients, not just a lifestyle choice. In updating its guidance, the AAP clarifies that breastfeeding beyond one year and up to two years has significant benefits to the mother in particular; lower rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, and breast and ovarian cancers are associated with long-term breastfeeding. In breastfeeding infants, some studies indicate there are fewer respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, incidents of severe respiratory disease or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), development of chronic illnesses, doctor visits, hospitalizations, and prescriptions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that an additional $3+ billion in medical costs per year can be attributed to low breastfeeding rates.

Breastfeeding is a personal choice – not everyone wants to or even can breastfeed their baby. For those who choose to, however, being successful is linked to the presence of interventions and support along the way. Evidence-based practices at the hospital level are a critical component for establishing breastfeeding.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) cited a systematic review of 38 randomized controlled trials that found short- and long-term increases in breastfeeding as a result of direct assistance and education across a variety of providers and settings in conjunction with structured training for health professionals. The AHRQ and the AAP also both cite increases in breastfeeding initiation and duration as a result of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, which gives a special designation to facilities that successfully complete an assessment and implement the World Health Organization’s 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.

Some of the evidence-based practices linked to higher breastfeeding rates include individualized support in the first few hours and days following birth, rooming-in, and education and support. Additionally, the CDC’s 2018 national survey of Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC) identified institutional management as an area with the widest range of scores across all states, with 45 being the lowest state score and 95 the highest state score (see Figure 1). As this category is defined by activities such as nurse training and clinical competency, record keeping, and policy setting, it is clear that some important breastfeeding initiatives extend beyond the maternity ward.

Figure 1. National score and state score ranges for mPINC subdomains in 2018

According to the AAP, there are also significant opportunities for more equitable gains in breastfeeding outcomes. The United States continues to see evidence of disparities in success rates – none of the Healthy People 2020 objectives for breastfeeding were met for non-Hispanic black mothers and infants. The rates for any breastfeeding are approximately 10% lower in non-Hispanic black mothers compared to the average for all races/ethnicities (see Figure 2). Similarly, there are disparities in mothers who are younger than 20, low income, or less educated. Hospitals interested in health equity initiatives likely have an opportunity in the realm of breastfeeding support that accounts for socioeconomic and cultural differences.

Figure 2. Rates of any breastfeeding in U.S. by race/ethnicity

A summary of recommendations, provider implementation tools, and other resources are summarized for healthcare providers in the AHRQ breastfeeding provider fact sheet. In addition, MVC would like to spotlight those members with ongoing or completed improvement efforts around breastfeeding. If your site has achieved the Baby-Friendly Hospital designation or has tools for addressing patient disparities in breastfeeding, please consider sharing your story with the Coordinating Center for the benefit of the larger collaborative.

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MVC Launches New Push Report on ED and Post-Acute Care Use

MVC Launches New Push Report on ED and Post-Acute Care Use

The emergency department (ED) is a unique and critical component of the healthcare system in the U.S., treating acute injuries or illnesses and acting as a safety net for patients who are uninsured or low income. ED visits are also very expensive, and that spending is growing according to a recent retrospective study of ED trends. This week the Michigan Value Collaborative (MVC) is distributing its newest push report on ED and post-acute care (PAC) utilization to support members' efforts in this space.

Since the ED serves as a safety net for patients experiencing barriers to healthcare access, the Coordinating Center report purposefully integrates measures tied to social determinants of health and health equity. Reports contain a patient population snapshot table showcasing several patient characteristics by payer (see Figure 1), including age, race, comorbidities, zip code, dual-eligibility status, and economic distress scores. Dual-eligible patients are those who qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare; these patients tend to have a higher prevalence rate for chronic conditions, disabilities, and other care needs that substantially increase healthcare utilization.

Figure 1.

Economic distress scores range from 0-100 with a higher score indicating greater economic distress. These scores come from the Economic Innovation Group’s Distressed Communities Index (DCI), which is derived from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Business Patterns and American Community Survey. The DCI combines seven complementary economic indicators (see Figure 2) to provide a single, holistic, and comparative measure of economic well-being across communities in the U.S. In MVC’s report, there is a proportion of patients living in an “at-risk” or “distressed” zip code across all payers, as classified by the DCI. However, as the literature often indicates, the Medicaid population has the highest average distress score and a larger proportion of patients living in an “at-risk” or “distressed” zip code.

Figure 2.

The bulk of MVC’s latest report aims to provide its members with more granular insights into PAC utilization in the 30-day post-discharge period than is available on the MVC registry. Using index admissions for medical conditions from 1/1/18 through 12/31/20, the report focuses predominantly on ED utilization, which is categorized as either “ED to Home” or “ED to Readmission.” ED to Home represents ED visits that do not occur on the same day as readmission, and ED to Readmission refers to those visits occurring on the same day as readmission.

The report includes figures illustrating trends in 30-day ED to Home rates between 2018 and 2020, top reasons for ED visits at a given hospital, the number of ED to Home visits within 30 days post-discharge, the number of days until the first ED visit post-discharge, the ED to Home rate and the breakdown of total PAC spending for a hospital’s three highest-volume conditions, and the average ED facility payment. MVC included the following payers in this report: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) PPO Commercial, BCBSM Medicare Advantage (MA), Blue Care Network (BCN) HMO Commercial, BCN MA, Medicare Fee-for-Service, and Medicaid.

Overall, the MVC report confirms published findings that Medicaid patients utilize the ED at a higher rate than patients insured by other payers. The Coordinating Center also finds that ED use differs between types of providers. For acute care hospitals, for example, over half of ED visits occur on the same day as readmission, whereas these visits account for 40% at Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs).

MVC also finds that ED to Home visits most often occur once in the 30 days following discharge for most of the collaborative (see Figure 3). There are some members, however, with three or more ED to Home visits within the 30-day post-discharge period.

Figure 3.

The Coordinating Center envisions this report being of particular importance to its CAH members, whose structures, services, and patient populations make the ED and PAC a top priority. As such, MVC prepared versions of this report for both CAHs and acute care hospitals using their respective comparison groups throughout. In other words, the CAH version of the report includes comparison points for all other CAHs in the collaborative. Acute care hospitals can see their traditional collaborative-wide and regional comparison data, not including hospitals with a CAH designation.

As members review and discuss the findings in their report(s), MVC encourages providers to utilize the Michigan Emergency Department Improvement Collaborative (MEDIC), which is dedicated to improving the quality of ED care across the state of Michigan. In addition, if members wish to discuss additional custom analyses on ED and PAC utilization, please contact the MVC Coordinating Center at michiganvaluecollaborative@gmail.com.

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Latest MVC Preop Testing Report Features New Figures and Data

Latest MVC Preop Testing Report Features New Figures and Data

This week MVC distributed its second preoperative testing push report of 2022, providing members with another opportunity to benchmark their testing practices. MVC first introduced its preoperative testing push reports in 2021 to help members reduce the use of unnecessary testing for surgical procedures. Preoperative testing, especially for low-risk surgeries, often provides no clinical benefits to patients but is ordered regularly at hospitals across Michigan.

The report distributed this week had many similarities to the version distributed earlier this year in April, namely that members continued to see their rates across a variety of tests for three elective, low-risk procedures performed in outpatient settings: laparoscopic cholecystectomy, laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair, and lumpectomy. Claims were evaluated for the index event as well as 30 days prior to the procedures for the following common tests: electrocardiogram (ECGs), echocardiogram, cardiac stress test, complete blood count, basic metabolic panel, coagulation studies, urinalysis, chest x-ray, and pulmonary function.

The latest report has a few key differences from the spring version, the most significant of which is that it utilizes claims from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) and Blue Care Network (BCN) plans exclusively. This allows members to see MVC’s most up-to-date data; the report includes index admissions from 1/1/2019 through 12/31/2021. In addition, since the report contains BCBSM/BCN data only, there is no case count suppression, whereas members would only see their data in the spring version if they had at least 11 cases in each year of data for the three combined conditions.

The reports received by members this week included several new figures. Similar to other MVC push reports, members will now see a patient snapshot table that provides additional information about the report’s patient population. For this, MVC chose to include patient characteristics such as age, zip code, and comorbidities. Generally speaking, there were more comorbidities among patients who underwent preoperative testing compared to patients with one or no comorbidities (see Figure 1). However, the majority of patients who complete a preoperative test do not have multiple comorbidities. There were also observed differences in testing rates by age. In general, patients who had preoperative testing were older on average than patients who had no preoperative testing.

Figure 1.

Another new figure showcased the overall preoperative testing rates by year. This trend graph showed members how their overall rate for any preoperative testing compared in 2019, 2020, and 2021, and it included data points for the MVC average and regional comparison groups (see Figure 2). The key finding for this figure was that there has been very little change in testing rates over time when looking at overall preoperative testing practices. This means that, in general, the prevalence of low-value preoperative testing has remained consistently high overall across the collaborative for three years and likely longer.

Figure 2.

The latest report also included a new figure for absolute change in any preoperative testing from 2019 to 2021. For each hospital, this appears as a caterpillar plot of absolute change percentages for their highest-volume procedure among the three low-risk surgeries in the report. Members can see the percentage change—positive or negative—in their testing rate for that surgical condition, as well as how their absolute change compares to the rest of the collaborative. For example, hospitals that perform more cholecystectomies than hernia repairs or lumpectomies saw a wide range of both increases and decreases in preoperative testing rates from 2019 to 2021 (see Figure 3).

Figure 3.

The blinded hospital in this example observed very little change in its testing rate for cholecystectomy (-1.6%), and the MVC average was similar (-2.2%). This showcases that although the collaborative is not seeing much change to overall rates for any testing over time, individual members might see greater variability over time for specific tests or procedures, especially in instances of low case counts.

Members will be able to take those deeper dives into their rates for specific tests in the figures that make up the remaining pages of the report. Viewing one’s preoperative testing rates for each specific test can help members understand if any specific tests are driving their overall testing rate. One area of opportunity, for example, could be to reduce one's rate of cardiac testing, specifically ECGs; the rate of ECGs is very variable across the collaborative (see Figure 4) and could lead to a cascade of care.

Figure 4.

MVC is eager to drive improvement in this area. For more information on how MVC is working to reduce unnecessary preoperative testing, visit its Value Coalition Campaign webpage here. If you are interested in a more customized report or would like information about MVC’s preop testing stakeholder working group, please contact the MVC Coordinating Center at michiganvaluecollaborative@gmail.com.

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MVC Coordinating Center Team Volunteers at Member Hospital

MVC Coordinating Center Team Volunteers at Member Hospital

As employers and managers endeavor to invest in their company’s culture, there is one often overlooked activity that can positively impact job satisfaction: volunteering. According to a study from Deloitte, cultivating a culture that encourages volunteerism can boost employee morale, workplace atmosphere, and brand perception. It found that 89% of employees believe companies with sponsored volunteer activities offer a better overall work environment and that 70% felt volunteering was a stronger boost to morale than company-sponsored happy hours. Since team culture and the retention of skilled employees have become increasingly important in the current job market, there has never been a better time to help staff feel connected to their community and teammates.

The Michigan Value Collaborative (MVC) experienced some of these benefits recently when the Coordinating Center team spent several hours volunteering together at a local MVC member hospital. This was the first time MVC had organized an official service day for its team. It took place at the Farm at Trinity Health, located at the Trinity Health St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Hospital in Ypsilanti, MI. The MVC team spent several hours weeding, planting, and harvesting vegetables. After harvesting, the MVC team helped wash and pack fresh greens, salad mix, kale, and radishes for the Farm’s community-supported agriculture (CSA) program and patient produce boxes.

Selecting the Farm at Trinity Health as MVC’s service day location was an exciting opportunity due to its many connections to MVC’s priorities. The produce boxes distributed by the Farm help feed members of the community who experience food insecurity or hunger, as well as hospital patients who participate in programs like cardiac rehabilitation (CR). MVC has identified health equity as a strategic priority for 2022 and beyond, and also currently has a Value Coalition Campaign that encourages members to increase patient utilization of CR programs. The MVC team was excited to learn about this direct connection to CR patients and the program’s overall impact on community health. In addition, the Farm at Trinity Health is a participating site in the Washtenaw County Health Department’s Prescription for Health Program, which was a featured topic at MVC’s health equity workgroup earlier this year.

This service day also coincided with an overall shift in how MVC staff members interact. As MVC grew over the past two years, multiple new employees had only ever interacted with coworkers virtually because of the pandemic’s impact on in-person activities. That changed this past spring with MVC’s part-time return to in-person work and some in-person team-building events. The service day was intended to bring teammates together after many months apart to get to know one another, connect, and give back to the wider community.

If you have a story about an impactful program that could be shared with the Collaborative or wish to connect your team with local community volunteering, contact the MVC Coordinating Center for assistance at michiganvaluecollaborative@gmail.com. Learn more about the Farm at Trinity Health (formerly the Farm at St. Joe’s) here.

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MVC Launches First Preoperative Testing Awareness Week

Prior to surgery, most Michigan patients will undergo a series of tests, such as blood draws, urinalysis, chest x-rays, or electrocardiograms (ECGs/EKGs). Many of these tests are unnecessary for healthy patients undergoing low-risk procedures, such as groin hernia repair or cholecystectomy. Routine preoperative testing is widely considered a low-value service, and yet a majority of hospitals continue to order these tests.

Last week the Michigan Value Collaborative (MVC) helped to increase awareness about low-value preoperative testing during its first-ever Preoperative Testing Awareness Week. MVC distributed press releases, published a daily cadence of social media content on Twitter and LinkedIn, and launched a new video (shown above) about preoperative testing – all in service of inspiring collaboration in this area.

MVC first focused on preoperative testing in 2020, when the Coordinating Center selected it as a priority area for its Value Coalition Campaigns. Since then, MVC has taken steps to reduce the use of unnecessary preoperative testing for surgical procedures to improve quality, reduce cost, and improve the equity of care delivery in Michigan. Throughout Preoperative Testing Week, the Coordinating Center’s goals were to describe the potential harm of unnecessary testing, showcase the variability in testing practices across the collaborative, and connect members with MVC resources that could help.

MVC primarily supports members via two key strategies. One is data analysis and reporting. MVC analysts utilize administrative claims data to calculate testing rates in the preoperative period, and then share these results with members as reports or as unblinded data at collaborative-wide meetings. More recently, MVC partnered with the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative (MSQC) to distribute these reports more widely, which enables both clinical and quality personnel to identify patterns, explore new strategies, and work together to reduce preoperative testing at each hospital.

These reports are an invaluable resource in benchmarking the extent of the issue statewide since MVC data can show members how their rates compare to other Michigan hospitals. By focusing on a homogeneous cohort of healthy patients undergoing common, low-risk surgical procedures, MVC benchmarks can help all hospitals understand where they have an opportunity to improve, regardless of facility size, resources, or patient population.

MVC data reveals large variability between hospitals—so much so that even high-performing hospitals have room to safely reduce testing rates. Across the collaborative, preoperative testing rates among young, healthy patients range from 10% to 97% in MVC hospitals. Even within hospitals, there is usually variation, with certain surgeries driving the overall rate.

The other key strategy MVC uses to support members is engagement events, which help facilitate collaboration and resource sharing among peer hospitals and physician organizations. The MVC team supports its member base of more than 100 hospitals and 40 physician organizations through events like stakeholder meetings and workgroups, where clinicians and quality improvement staff can discuss solutions to common challenges. Last week, MVC hosted a special, one-time workgroup on preoperative testing as part of its “Health in Action” workgroup series. The session featured guest presenter Dr. Michael Danic, DO, for a presentation titled, “Safe, Evidence-Based Reductions in Preoperative Testing: Why is it so hard to change?” Dr. Danic is a board-certified anesthesiologist at Ascension Genesys who has served in several leadership positions for quality and safety initiatives. A recording of the full workgroup is available here.

At the conclusion of the week, the MVC team helped its stakeholders connect to educational materials, data, specialists, and successful peers in this space. The Coordinating Center urges its members to take steps to understand their role in unnecessary preoperative testing and improve the patient experience.

The Coordinating Center is eager to continue this momentum in pursuit of a variety of goals for 2022 and beyond. If your hospital or physician organization would like support with reducing preoperative testing rates or has a success story that could help others, please reach out directly to MVC at michiganvaluecollaborative@gmail.com.

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MVC Registry to Soon Include Patient-Level Medicare Data

MVC Registry to Soon Include Patient-Level Medicare Data

In the coming weeks, MVC registry users will receive communications outlining several required steps related to implementing the Coordinating Center’s new data use agreement (DUA) as a qualified entity (QE) with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The QE DUA permits MVC to display Medicare Fee-For-Service (FFS) claims data with fewer data suppression limitations than its research DUA within its online registry. As a result, authorized users of the MVC registry may gain access to identifiable Medicare beneficiary data.

These changes are the result of years of work by the MVC team to earn its QE status through the Qualified Entity Certification Program (QECP), which is also known as the Medicare Data Sharing for Performance Measurement Program. The QE application includes multiple phases before an entity is permitted to show patient-level data. The MVC Coordinating Center has been working through the final phase (see Figure 1) of the application, which involves developing and documenting measures for public reporting.

Figure 1.

The QE Medicare data will be contained in a separate tab on the MVC registry. Authorized users will have access to both the existing Medicare FFS reports as well as the QE reports. The QE data will be available for the most recent 18 months of index admissions only and will not have any case count suppression, allowing users to see the more granular data that is censored in the Medicare FFS reports.

The QE reports also have additional patient population filters to view the data by patient comorbidities, patient age, and more granular date options. These reports also feature trend graphs that can be viewed monthly, quarterly, or annually. In addition to uncensored data, the QE data will allow for patient-level drill-down as is currently available in the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan data. The drill-down includes detailed information on the patient’s comorbidities, price standardized episode payments, and claim level walk-through. Although patient drill-down is available, the provider identifiers have been removed in conjunction with the QECP regulations. Additionally, the skilled nursing facility report is not available in the QE reports to avoid identifying providers.

For those with access, the QE reports should be used when evaluating the most recent years of data. The Medicare FFS reports can still be useful for historical trends and the Coordinating Center may be able to provide custom reports to fill in information that isn’t available through the registry. The patient-level drill-down can be used in conjunction with a hospital’s clinical information to understand what led to high-cost patients. The QE data should make Medicare data more useful to hospital members. However, QE data is only to be used for quality improvement rather than for marketing purposes. Additionally, authorized users are prohibited from disclosing or redistributing data provided in these reports outside of their institution.

Next week MVC member hospitals will receive a new QE DUA to be reviewed and signed by an authorized representative from their institution. This signed DUA is a prerequisite for receiving access to the new QE pages once they are available. MVC’s current CMS research DUA will remain in effect on non-QE registry pages and will continue to utilize data suppression for fewer than 11 episodes to protect patient identities. The MVC registry will also implement multifactor authentication (MFA) upon login for all registry users regardless of QE access in order to comply with the new DUA's security and data privacy requirements.

In the coming weeks, MVC members and registry users are encouraged to be attentive to any communications containing additional details or requests. In the meantime, please contact the MVC Coordinating Center with any immediate questions at michiganvaluecollaborative@gmail.com.

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New MVC Northern Summer Meeting Planned for August

New MVC Northern Summer Meeting Planned for August

MVC will launch a new in-person event this summer when it hosts members and speakers from Northern Michigan. This new MVC Northern Summer Meeting is modeled after the collaborative-wide semi-annual meetings, but it aims to focus on unique challenges and opportunities in delivering healthcare in this part of the state. The event will take place on August 18, 2022, from 12-5 p.m. at the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City, MI.

As MVC has gained new members, it has also diversified with the addition of more rural and critical access hospitals. These types of sites – many of which are located in the upper peninsula or northern half of the lower peninsula – play an integral role in the health system and have a unique care delivery experience. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), these types of hospitals have higher performance quality measures than their urban counterparts for areas such as safety, community engagement, efficiency, and cost reduction. At the same time, however, they also face unique challenges related to low patient volumes, higher rates of chronic disease, insufficient workforce recruitment and retention, and low reimbursement rates, among others.

It is these unique strengths and challenges that will be the focus of the day’s agenda, which will include speakers representing area hospitals, rural health organizations, community agencies, and the MVC Coordinating Center. The event’s keynote speaker will be Crystal Barter, MSA, Director of Programs and Services for the Michigan Center for Rural Health. Her presentation on “Michigan’s Rural Health Landscape: Challenges and Opportunities” will set the stage for the afternoon and be followed by speakers on specific topics, such as Hospital at Home care models and the aging population.

The other speakers include Stephanie Pins, MSA, Director of Quality Management, Risk, and Compliance, and Kristine Boyer, MSN, RN, Clinical Quality Manager, of MyMichigan Medical Center - Sault; Dr. Aditya Neravetla, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital; and Jenna Lindholm, RN, CCM, Clinical Quality Supervisor at the Region 9 Area Agency on Aging.

The MVC Coordinating Center will also provide its latest updates as well as unblinded data to encourage member collaboration. The event includes dedicated networking sessions at the start and end of the day’s agenda when members can compare notes and glean ideas from peers.

MVC distributed invitations to northern members at the beginning of June and plans to share the full agenda with additional event specifics in the coming weeks. Those members who received invitations are encouraged to RSVP now.

If you have any questions about the upcoming event, contact the MVC Coordinating Center at michiganvaluecollaborative@gmail.com.