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MVC Workgroup Planned to Support Members Focused on Cardiac Rehabilitation Rates

MVC Workgroup Planned to Support Members Focused on Cardiac Rehabilitation Rates

Next week marks the kickoff of American Heart Month, commemorating the more than 600,000 Americans who die from heart disease each year and raising awareness about strategies that support heart health. Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is one of those critical strategies, with the second full week of February each year dedicated to promoting its role in reducing the harmful effects of heart disease. In support of efforts to promote this life-saving program, MVC will host a CR-focused workgroup on Feb. 16, from 2-3 p.m., with MVC Co-Director Mike Thompson, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Cardiac Surgery at Michigan Medicine, as its guest speaker. He will highlight some recent efforts to increase patient enrollment.

This is the third time MVC has hosted a workgroup dedicated to CR utilization; the first took place during last year’s CR week in February 2022 and featured guest presenters Steven Keteyian, Ph.D., Director of Preventive Cardiology at Henry Ford Medical Group, and Greg Merritt, Ph.D., patient advocate, in a discussion about strategies for increasing CR use. The second in November 2022 featured Diane Hamilton, BAA, CEP, of Corewell Health Trenton Hospital, who discussed addressing transportation barriers as an obstacle to CR attendance.

CR is a medically supervised program encompassing exercise, education, peer support, and counseling to help patients recovering from a cardiac event, disease, or procedure. There is high-quality evidence that it saves lives and money. A 2016 meta-analysis estimated that for every 37 coronary heart disease patients who attended CR, one of their lives was saved on average. Additionally, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Cardiovascular Consortium (BMC2) and the Michigan Value Collaborative (MVC) came together recently to measure the impact attributed to CR for percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) patients treated between 2015 and 2019, and estimated 86 lives saved, 145 readmissions avoided, and approximately $1.8 million in savings.

Despite the evidence in favor of its clinical impact and cost-effectiveness, CR remains heavily underutilized, with only one in three eligible Michiganders participating. MVC’s hospital-level cardiac rehab reports showcase similar findings (Figure 1). These reports were rebranded recently under the new Michigan Cardiac Rehabilitation Network (MiCR) umbrella in partnership with BMC2. They measure whether and when patients started CR at MVC hospitals and how long they kept going. The collaborative-wide average for PCI patients, for example, was 38.3%, with hospital rates ranging from approximately 10%-60%. Such a wide range in patient participation rates suggests MVC member hospitals would benefit from the insights of top-performing peers.

Figure 1.

MVC is pursuing several strategies to address this critical gap in utilization. The upcoming Feb. 16 workgroup will be one of several CR-focused workgroups offered throughout 2023. The Coordinating Center decided to offer workgroups on this topic in part because of its recent incorporation of a CR measure into the MVC Component of the BCBSM Pay-for-Performance (P4P) Program. MVC member hospitals were recently asked to make metric selections for the upcoming Program Year 2024-2025 cycle, and as of February 2023 just over one quarter of hospitals elected to be scored on their CR rates for the new value metric component of the MVC measure. These hospitals will receive more P4P points if their CR utilization rate improves over time or is greater relative to their peers. These hospitals are currently treating the patients who will make up their performance year data for Program Year 2024 of the MVC measure. Therefore, MVC aims to offer tailored workgroups to support those sites being scored on CR utilization, most likely incorporating some unblinded data presentations and highlighting key resources and practices for quality improvement purposes.

The MVC team hopes these efforts to facilitate peer learning within the collaborative will help hospitals across the state improve CR participation. Doing so would save the lives of patients and improve the value of healthcare in Michigan. Sites that selected CR as their value metric component of the MVC P4P measure are encouraged to attend; however, anyone interested in this area of healthcare is welcome. Those interested in attending may register here. Please contact the MVC Coordinating Center with any questions at Michigan-Value-Collaborative@med.umich.edu.

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MVC Distributes New Push Report Dedicated to P4P Conditions

MVC Distributes New Push Report Dedicated to P4P Conditions

MVC launched a new push report this week dedicated to the MVC P4P conditions. Its purpose is to support hospitals in identifying areas of opportunity within past and present conditions of the MVC Component of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) Pay-for-Performance (P4P) Program. The conditions currently included in P4P and in this report are chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure (CHF), colectomy (non-cancer), coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), joint replacement (hip and knee), pneumonia, and spine surgery. Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is also included in this report as a historical P4P condition. Hospitals received a page for each condition if they met a case count threshold of 11 episodes in 2019 and 2020.

This report was limited to episodes included in the P4P program with index admissions in 2019 and 2020, and thus included the following payers: BCBSM Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), BCBSM Medicare Advantage, Blue Care Network (BCN) Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), BCN Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Fee-For-Service (FFS). To align with the P4P program, MVC excluded patients with a discharge disposition of inpatient death or transfer to hospice, episodes that started with an inpatient transfer, and episodes with a COVID-19 diagnosis on a facility claim in the inpatient setting. To fully exclude COVID-19 patients, pneumonia episodes in March 2020 were also excluded.

The reports provided data on hospital trends in episode payments, readmission rates, post-acute care utilization, and emergency department utilization for P4P patients. Data from the push report can be used in conjunction with the registry reports to inform areas of opportunity in the P4P conditions. The push reports also provided a snapshot of each hospital’s P4P patient population (see Figure 1), including race, mean age, and the average number of comorbidities.

Figure 1. Patient Population Snapshot for Blinded Hospital

For Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), the report also included index length of stay. For acute care hospitals, the report included a “reasons for readmissions” table that identified the top five reasons a P4P patient was readmitted. However, this table was removed from the report’s joint replacement page due to low readmission rates among joint replacement surgeries. In its place, acute care hospitals received their ratio of outpatient to inpatient surgeries.

As with other push reports, hospitals were compared to other members in the collaborative for select measures. For acute care hospitals, each hospital’s report includes a comparison point for all MVC episodes (“MVC All”) as well as for episodes at hospitals in the same geographic region (“Your Region”). These reference points do not include episodes that occurred at hospitals with a CAH designation. Similarly, the reports distributed to CAHs included comparison points for MVC episodes at all CAHs in the collaborative (“CAH Average”).

This report takes the place of the cardiac service line reports, which included data on CHF, AMI, and CABG. The new P4P conditions push report uses many of the same measures and figures from the cardiac service line reports, but for the complete list of P4P conditions.

For more information on the MVC Component of the P4P Program, see the MVC P4P Technical Document. Please share your feedback on the newest P4P conditions push report with the MVC Coordinating Center at michiganvaluecollaborative@gmail.com.


CHF Workgroup Discusses Value of Outpatient Intravenous Diuresis

The Michigan Value Collaborative (MVC) holds bi-monthly virtual workgroups on six different clinical areas of focus. The goal of these workgroups is to bring collaborative members together to discuss current quality improvement initiatives and challenges. These six different clinical areas include chronic disease management (CDM), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure (CHF), diabetes, joint, and sepsis. At the most recent MVC CHF workgroup, the discussion centered around inpatient versus outpatient intravenous diuresis for the acute exacerbation of CHF.

The prevalence of heart failure in the United States is increasing, with one study indicating it affects more than 5.7 million people. The study reports that up to 80% of patients with acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF) visit their emergency departments and that 91.5% of those patients were thereafter readmitted to the hospital for diuresis.

With increasing prevalence comes greater direct and indirect healthcare costs associated with CHF, accounting for approximately $40 billion annually in the United States. For patients over the age of 65, it is a leading cause of hospitalization with annual costs of $11 billion.

Despite significant costs and healthcare burden associated with this condition, the same study finds that no official guidance exists regarding an appropriate location for therapy. Since hospital readmission reduction programs seek to incentivize reductions in readmissions, it is important to simultaneously provide guidance to providers and patients on safe and effective options for outpatient treatment and therapy.

To address this concern, the workgroup discussed the benefits and safety of outpatient intravenous (IV) diuresis and how the outpatient administration of furosemide can be safe and effective. MVC members shared their experiences with setting up these clinics, their inclusion criteria, and other protocols. A standard diuretic protocol could include each patient being given an IV furosemide bolus with continuous infusion within the most appropriate outpatient setting, which could include the patient’s home or in a mobile clinic.

While in the outpatient setting, patients undergoing this treatment would be monitored via cardiac telemetry and appropriate blood panels before and after the infusion. Patients on maintenance medications are instructed to continue their standard dose in the outpatient setting as appropriate based on their individualized treatment protocol. Patients should follow up with their cardiology and primary care teams to maintain their treatment and care maintenance plans. Following the outpatient IV diuresis encounter, the study reported patients had lower costs, fewer hospital stays, and lower mortality risk than CHF patients who did not receive outpatient IV diuresis.

Overall, studies indicate that outpatient CHF IV diuresis treatment is a safe and effective method of relieving CHF symptoms with a low risk of adverse events. The MVC members in attendance had positive thoughts and experiences regarding outpatient IV diuresis clinics and would recommend further discussion on them. The outpatient mobile CHF diuresis clinic was of notable interest to the MVC members in attendance and will be considered for a specialty topic in future workgroups and blog posts.

The MVC Coordinating Center is interested in hearing how your organization is improving CHF patient care and reducing CHF hospital readmissions. If you would like to present at or attend an upcoming MVC workgroup, please contact the MVC Coordinating Center at the michiganvaluecollaborative@gmail.com.

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MVC Efforts to Improve Cardiac Rehab Enrollment in Michigan

MVC Efforts to Improve Cardiac Rehab Enrollment in Michigan

Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is designed to improve cardiovascular function and mitigate risk factors for future cardiovascular events through monitored exercise, patient education, lifestyle modifications, smoking cessation, and social support (1). For over a decade, CR has been a Class I indication in clinical guidelines for patients who have had a heart attack, chronic stable angina, chronic heart failure, or have undergone a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), surgical (SAVR) or transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), or coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). The evidence supporting CR as a high-value therapy for patients is clear: better long-term survival, fewer secondary cardiovascular events, fewer readmissions, improved quality of life, and lower healthcare utilization (2–6). 

Unfortunately, only a fraction of Michigan residents eligible for CR attend a single session following hospitalization for a qualifying condition, with rates as high as 59% for patients undergoing CABG and as low as 4% for patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) (see Figure 1). These data highlight that we as a state are well short of the national goal set by the Million Hearts Initiative of 70% enrollment for all eligible patients. Data from Michigan also suggests wide variation in CR enrollment across hospitals that are not fully explained by differences in patient case-mix (7).

Figure 1. Collaborative-wide CR enrollment rates for qualifying conditions (01/2017-12/2019)

Since 2019 the MVC Coordinating Center sought to equitably increase participation in CR for all eligible individuals in Michigan in partnership with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Cardiovascular Consortium (BMC2) and the Michigan Society of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeons Quality Collaborative (MSTCVS-QC). In an effort to drive improvement in this area across the collaborative’s membership, MVC developed a number of resources and strategies. For example, the MVC Coordinating Center built hospital-level reports that provide members with information on CR enrollment across eligible conditions benchmarked against all MVC hospitals. This week the newest iteration of this CR report was distributed to members. The previous version of the report was sent in March 2021 with a reporting period of 1/1/17 – 12/31/19. The latest version shifted that reporting period by six months (7/1/17 – 6/30/20), included Medicaid episodes for the first time, expanded the time horizon from 90 days to one year, and added information on CHF and acute myocardial infarction (AMI) episodes. 

With the addition of CHF and AMI (both “high-volume” MVC conditions), the number of hospitals eligible to receive a CR report doubled from 47 to 95, so many MVC hospitals received this report for the first time this month. The most significant methodological change compared to the previous report was the expansion of the episode window from 90 days to 365 days (one year). Previous reports undercounted the number of CR visits by using the standard MVC episode length of 90 days when a full CR program consists of 36 sessions, which are often not feasible to complete in 90 days. Therefore, it was important to expand the time horizon to achieve a fuller count. The report instead looked one full year beyond the index event (either PCI, TAVR, SAVR, CABG, CHF, or AMI) to calculate CR utilization rates and number of visits.

The MVC team also convened a multidisciplinary stakeholder group of CR practitioners, physicians, and CQI leaders to foster discussion around barriers and facilitators to CR enrollment. Many of the recent changes to the CR reports were a direct result of suggestions from this stakeholder group. Quarterly seminars have also provided opportunities for local facilities to share ongoing quality improvement activities and to learn from national leaders about innovations in the delivery and quality of CR.

More recently, the MVC team conducted virtual site visits with several CR facilities around the state to learn about their programs, the successes and challenges they have encountered, and ways to improve collaboration in Michigan around CR enrollment. Common themes emerged as barriers to CR enrollment, including lack of patient or physician engagement, geographical and/or technological gaps in care between the hospital and CR facility, and insurance coverage and reimbursement. Through collaborative learning and dissemination of best practices, the MVC Coordinating Center believes that its members can begin to address many of these challenges moving forward. 

These efforts are all the more important as CR facilities begin to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many facilities had to reduce capacity and staff as a result of the pandemic, and the number of CR visits declined significantly compared to pre-pandemic months (see Figure 2). While many CR facilities are back to operating at full capacity, continued efforts will be needed to return CR enrollment to pre-pandemic levels. Some sites in Michigan have adopted virtual, home-based, or hybrid versions of CR to continue providing care to patients throughout the pandemic, and its place as a substitute for facility-based CR will require continued exploration that can be supported through collaborative efforts.

Figure 2. Changes in CR enrollment from 2019 to 2020 over time and by qualifying condition

While many challenges remain to achieve the national goal of 70% enrollment in CR for eligible individuals, the MVC Coordinating Center is optimistic that its current and planned efforts will provide opportunities for Michigan to lead the way. If you are interested in joining our efforts to equitably increase CR enrollment for eligible patients in Michigan, please reach out for more information at michiganvaluecollaborative@gmail.com.


  1. Rubin R. Although Cardiac Rehab Saves Lives, Few Eligible Patients Take Part. JAMA [Internet]. 2019 Jul 17; Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.2019.8604 PMID: 31314061
  2. Heran BS, Chen JM, Ebrahim S, Moxham T, Oldridge N, Rees K, Thompson DR, Taylor RS. Exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation for coronary heart disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Jul 6;(7):CD001800. PMCID: PMC4229995
  3. Taylor RS, Long L, Mordi IR, Madsen MT, Davies EJ, Dalal H, Rees K, Singh SJ, Gluud C, Zwisler A-D. Exercise-Based Rehabilitation for Heart Failure: Cochrane Systematic Review, Meta-Analysis, and Trial Sequential Analysis. JACC Heart Fail. 2019 Aug;7(8):691–705. PMID: 31302050
  4. Taylor RS, Brown A, Ebrahim S, Jolliffe J, Noorani H, Rees K, Skidmore B, Stone JA, Thompson DR, Oldridge N. Exercise-based rehabilitation for patients with coronary heart disease: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Med. 2004 May 15;116(10):682–692. PMID: 15121495
  5. Anderson L, Thompson DR, Oldridge N, Zwisler A, Rees K, Martin N, Taylor RS. Exercise‐based cardiac rehabilitation for coronary heart disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev [Internet]. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd; 2016 [cited 2021 Jan 25];(1). Available from: https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD001800.pub3/abstract
  6. Rejeski WJ, Foy CG, Brawley LR, Brubaker PH, Focht BC, Norris JL 3rd, Smith ML. Older adults in cardiac rehabilitation: a new strategy for enhancing physical function. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2002 Nov;34(11):1705–1713. PMID: 12439072
  7. Thompson MP, Yaser JM, Hou H, Syrjamaki JD, DeLucia A 3rd, Likosky DS, Keteyian SJ, Prager RL, Gurm HS, Sukul D. Determinants of Hospital Variation in Cardiac Rehabilitation Enrollment During Coronary Artery Disease Episodes of Care. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. American Heart Association; 2021 Feb;14(2):e007144. PMID: 33541107

The Michigan Value Collaborative’s Refreshed Cardiac Service Line Reports

The Michigan Value Collaborative (MVC) Coordinating Center disseminated it’s long-running customized cardiac service line report to hospital and physician organization (PO) members on February 23, 2021. These reports provide hospital-level information on congestive heart failure (CHF), acute myocardial infarction (AMI), and coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) conditions. To receive information on any one of these conditions, a hospital must have at least 20 cases per year over the three-year reporting period (1/1/17 – 12/31/19).

Since the last iteration of the cardiac service line report sent in June 2020, the Coordinating Center has defined four distinct regions within Michigan, allowing members to make regional comparisons. These comparisons have been incorporated into the 30-day risk-adjusted total episode payment trend chart, the post-acute care utilization bar graph, and the 30-day readmission rate trend chart of the reports as shown in the following AMI figures for a fictional institution, Hospital A.

Acute Myocardial Infarction Figures. Hospital A

Figure 1 shows the 30-day risk-adjusted total episode payments broken up into six-month intervals, illustrating that episode payments for AMI hold steady across the Collaborative at an average of around $22,000. Please note that as with all MVC reports, this represents price standardized dollars to allow for fair comparisons between hospitals. The price standardized dollars can be thought of as a measure of utilization as opposed to true dollar amounts.

Figure 2 displays the percentage of AMI patients who utilized home health (15.0% across MVC), rehab (14.1% across MVC), or skilled nursing facilities (9.9% across MVC). Figure 3 illustrates that, between 2017 and 2019, approximately 14% of AMI patients were readmitted within 30 days. Finally, Figure 4 shows Hospital A that based on the most recent claim before a readmission occurred, 90.9% of readmitted patients were coming from home, 8.8% were coming from Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF), and very few were coming from inpatient rehabilitation (0.3%). Hospitals can use this information to observe if they are an outlier in any of the categories and where they may have an opportunity to improve, to benchmark themselves against the MVC all and regional averages, and to notice trends in their performance

These combined-payer push reports are distributed twice a year, meaning the next iteration is likely to be sent out in the summer of 2021. In the meantime, single-payer information is always available on the MVC registry, allowing for continued monitoring of these metrics. Data is added every month for Blue Cross payers and quarterly for Medicare. Michigan Medicaid data will be live on the registry at the start of Q2 this year.

If you need registry access, if you have ideas on how these reports can be made more versatile, or if you are using these data for a quality improvement project at your institution, please contact michiganvaluecollaborative@gmail.com. Additionally, please reach out if you want further information in the way of custom analytics.

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Henry Ford Health System – Cardiac Rehab

Henry Ford Health System – Cardiac Rehab

At the most recent congestive heart failure MVC workgroup, Dr. Steven Keteyian, Section Head of the Cardiac Rehabilitation/Preventive Cardiology Unit at Henry Ford Medical Group, presented on exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation in patients with heart failure. Dr. Keteyian started out by discussing the importance of cardiac rehabilitation and adhering to a program in order to improve exercise tolerance and disease-specific outcomes. Exercise intolerance is measured and the information gathered can be used to stratify a patient’s future risk. If the measurement improves over time, Dr. Keteyian discussed the potential for a decrease in risk of death and re-hospitalization. This shows a tie to directly improving outcomes and symptoms in cardiac rehabilitation. Also, in the words of Dr. Keteyian, “functionally, the more they don’t do, the less they can do.”

Cardiac rehab is a Class I recommendation from The American College of Cardiology for all of the traditional cardiac disorders. Henry Ford has a 36-visit program that is anchored on exercise training. Between four and fifteen people are in each class and each person receives an individual treatment plan with a focus on bio-behavioral components. Six core components make up the program which include outcome assessments, supervised exercise, dietary/weight management, tobacco abuse, psychological support, and medication adherence. All participants participate in 30-minute behavioral education sessions which cover topics such as nutrition, dining out, proper exercise, medication compliance, and other relevant disease-management self-care activities. These same topics are also available on YouTube and can be found here, all of which are available for use in your cardiac rehab program. Currently, Henry Ford is working on bringing their time to enrollment after hospital discharge to less than 21 days and increasing adherence to the 36-visit program. The goal is to achieve a participation rate of 70% or more in cardiac rehab for Henry Ford’s patient population.

After discussing the program specifics at Henry Ford, Dr. Keteyian discussed the barriers that one may face in relation to participation in cardiac rehab. These barriers include:

  • Demographic
  • Difficulty contacting patient after hospitalization
  • Return to work demands
  • Transportation
  • Co-payment obligations
  • Dependent care responsibilities

Henry Ford is working at a system level in order to increase the percent of patients who gain access to cardiac rehab. This includes increasing the use of electronic medical record (EMR) driven automatic referrals, with an option for users to opt-out if necessary. Additionally, a member of the cardiac rehab team goes to the inpatient setting and talks to patients to establish a touchpoint before they leave the hospital. This five-minute conversation is all some patients need in order to see the importance and benefits of rehab. Lastly, Henry Ford is working to shorten the discharge to start time. Each day after discharge, the chance of getting patients started in rehab decreases by 1% for each day that passes. Henry Ford is working diligently in order to help decrease this risk.

In 2016, Henry Ford launched a hybrid home-based cardiac rehabilitation service. This includes some visits at the clinic and other virtual sessions. Previously being tied to a single visit at a time on their current streaming platform, Henry Ford will roll out a WebEx model in February 2021 that will allow up to six cardiac rehab appointments to occur at one time. This will provide more of a group setting. Currently, a randomized controlled trial is being done on center based cardiac rehab versus hybrid cardiac rehab. Improvements in fitness and the number of sessions attended are being assessed.

If you are interested in watching the entire workgroup, please click here.  If interested in any information about this workgroup, or other MVC workgroups please email michiganvaluecollaborative@gmail.com