0
View Post
Michigan Cardiac Rehab Network Hosts In-Person Stakeholder Meeting at Trinity Health

Michigan Cardiac Rehab Network Hosts In-Person Stakeholder Meeting at Trinity Health

The Michigan Value Collaborative (MVC) and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Cardiovascular Consortium (BMC2) recently held a successful 2023 Fall Michigan Cardiac Rehab Network (MiCR) Stakeholder Meeting on Fri., Nov. 17. This was the second in-person MiCR Stakeholder Meeting since MVC and BMC2 founded the MiCR partnership in 2022. The meeting brought together 63 individuals representing 28 organizations and was co-hosted by Trinity Health Ann Arbor’s cardiac rehab team.

The day’s agenda accounted for a variety of topics, including updates and material releases by the MiCR team, presentations and panel discussions about the new MVC and BMC2 pay-for-performance measures for cardiac rehab (see slides), advice and updates about cardiac rehab billing (see slides), recent findings about liaison-mediated referrals and their impact on cardiac rehab participation after percutaneous coronary intervention (see slides), and breakout groups to help brainstorm opportunities within various focus areas.

One unique and memorable aspect of the day was the ability to learn from the meeting’s hosts, Trinity Health Ann Arbor. Professional representatives from the site included Frank Smith, MD, Medical Director of the Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation Program for the Ann Arbor and Livingston locations, and Mansoor Qureshi, MD, Medical Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab and Structural Heart Program for Ann Arbor, who provided opening remarks about the importance of facilitating provider buy-in and referrals. They emphasized cardiac rehab as a key high-value service to improve patient lives. Their slides can be viewed here.

They were also joined by Amy Preston, BS, CEP, Cardiac Rehab Manager and Exercise Physiologist, who organized optional tours of the Trinity Ann Arbor rehab space. Nearly all the meeting’s attendees opted to participate in the tours to learn about the unique spaces and strategies utilized at Trinity.

The MiCR team was also thrilled to announce the launch of New Beat, a multi-component intervention developed in partnership with the Healthy Behavior Optimization for Michigan (HBOM) team (see slides). The New Beat program’s interventions address specific barriers to patient participation, such as gaps in patient or physician knowledge about benefits, the need for stronger physician endorsement, and access issues resulting from transportation barriers. The offerings developed by MiCR and HBOM to support these New Beat strategies include MiCR’s new website (MichiganCR.org), patient- and provider-facing educational materials, cardiac care cards that can be signed by providers and delivered to patient rooms prior to discharge (Figure 1), and an Uber Health pilot. In particular, please note that the interest form on the MiCR website is now open for those interested in accessing these resources or requesting others.

Figure 1.

As of the Nov. 17 meeting, the 2024 CMS reimbursement rules for cardiac rehab had not been announced. Once they are, MiCR will help share those updates and related resources with its contacts. Please reach out to info@michigancr.org with any questions.

0
View Post
MVC’s 2023 Cardiac Rehabilitation Reports Shared with Hospitals

MVC’s 2023 Cardiac Rehabilitation Reports Shared with Hospitals

Participation in cardiac rehabilitation (CR) programs is a crucial strategy for improving cardiac health outcomes. Participation reduces the risk of all-cause and cardiovascular-specific mortality, reduces readmissions, and enhances the patient’s quality of life. Despite the identifiable benefits, Michigan patients underutilize this high-value program, falling well below the 70% participation goal set by the Million Hearts Initiative. Therefore, the Michigan Value Collaborative (MVC) and several of its partners have identified CR as a high-value service for which they endeavor to drive improvement.

In support of this effort, MVC recently distributed the 2023 version of its CR reports to members with data on CR-eligible patients following discharge for heart attack (AMI), heart valve repair or replacement (TAVR or SAVR), coronary artery bypass procedure (CABG), percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), and congestive heart failure (CHF). These reports were generated using MVC claims-based episodes of care with patient index admissions between 1/1/19-12/31/21 for multiple insurance plans, including Blue Care Network (BCN) HMO Commercial, BCN Medicare Advantage, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) PPO Commercial, BCBSM Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Fee-for-Service.

Hospitals received data on a specific procedure or condition if they had no fewer than 20 cases in the reporting period for that condition/procedure. The report pages include figures for a variety of CR metrics, including participation rates after discharge, quarterly trends in participation between 2019-2021, mean days to first CR visit among participating patients, and the mean number of visits completed among participating patients.

MVC generates these hospital-level reports as a product of the Michigan Cardiac Rehabilitation (MiCR) Network, a partnership between MVC, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Cardiovascular Consortium (BMC2), and the Michigan Society of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeons Quality Collaborative (MSTCVS-QC). The MiCR Network strives to increase participation in CR for all eligible individuals in Michigan.

Given the current status of CR participation across the state, the MiCR Network is tracking progress toward two utilization goals: 1) for 40% of all eligible AMI, TAVR, SAVR, CABG, and PCI (referred to as the “Main 5”) patients to attend at least one CR session within 90 days of their hospital discharge, and 2) for 10% of all eligible CHF patients to attend a single CR session within one year of a CHF-related hospitalization.

In developing these reports, MVC found that the collaborative-wide average participation rate within 90 days of discharge for the "Main 5" procedures was approximately 36%, below the statewide goal of 40%. Similarly, MVC’s analysis found 3.2% of eligible CHF patients participated within 365 days of discharge, 6.8% below the statewide MiCR goal of 10%.

The report also offers patient population demographics intended to help hospitals identify disparities in participation. Research evidence suggests that white males are more likely to utilize CR than women or patients of color, likely due to several socioeconomic and cultural factors. Hospitals are encouraged to consider any gaps showcased in their demographic snapshot and consider the provision of additional, tailored strategies that increase referral and participation among those patients.

Other high-level findings from the report included varying averages in CR participation by the procedure type. CABG and SAVR, more clinically invasive procedures, had the highest utilization rates at 54.9% and 51.3% respectively, whereas patients being treated for the chronic condition of CHF were the least likely to attend (3.2%). There is also wide interhospital variation in utilization rates for each procedure. For example, the collaborative-wide CR utilization rate after PCI is 32%, but hospital rates range from just above 10% to nearly 60% (Figure 1).

Figure 1.

This variation aligns with published research on hospital-level variation in CR referral, even after accounting for patient characteristics, insurance status, and clustering within operators and hospitals. It also demonstrates that quality improvement is possible, with multiple sites in the collaborative excelling.

Several of the Collaborative’s top-performing sites and experts worked together last year to develop the MiCR Best Practices Toolkit. It includes several evidence-based strategies for increasing enrollment and participation, with step-by-step guidance and resources. Among the various best practices, there are pages dedicated to automating inpatient referrals, early and flexible scheduling approaches, and strategies that help reduce participation barriers for patients (e.g., lack of transportation, lack of reimbursement for CR sessions, etc.).

MVC encourages those working in this space to save the date for the MiCR Fall Stakeholder Meeting in Ann Arbor on Friday, October 27, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is a valuable opportunity to connect with peers and experts who can offer support or resources. Please contact the MVC Coordinating Center if you are interested in attending and haven't received the event's Save the Date, or if you would like more details on this report and other upcoming CR events.

0
View Post
First Annual MiCR Meeting Draws Cardiac Rehab Stakeholders

First Annual MiCR Meeting Draws Cardiac Rehab Stakeholders

Since its inception earlier this year, the Michigan Cardiac Rehabilitation Network (MiCR) has sought to equitably increase cardiac rehabilitation (CR) participation for all eligible individuals in Michigan. A key step in this process has been to assemble an engaged group of stakeholders that share this vision from around the state, which culminated in the first MiCR Annual Meeting on October 7, co-hosted by MVC and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Cardiovascular Consortium (BMC2). Over 40 attendees representing institutions throughout Michigan came to Ann Arbor to present and discuss ongoing challenges facing CR utilization, and to brainstorm solutions that could be implemented across the state.

The first session of the meeting discussed strategies to cultivate buy-in from clinicians and administrators to support CR for their patients and health systems. Dr. Frank Smith, MD, from Trinity St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor discussed the importance of identifying and educating the key administrators and clinicians within the organization and developing a rigorous financial plan for a growing CR program. Jacqueline Harris, BS, CCEP, from McLaren Northern Michigan discussed how she developed small, laminated cards that mapped out the process to get eligible patients to CR, which she distributed to clinical teams within her institution. Rob Snyder, EP, MSA, from McLaren Greater Lansing emphasized the importance of continual monitoring and engagement with clinical and administrative leadership to ensure CR program growth.

Following the presentations, small group discussions among attendees identified other challenges related to achieving buy-in from clinicians and administrators. The referral phase was a consistent source of frustration for many attendees, including delays in referral from qualifying events, inefficient referral processes that require physician action, and limited staffing to close the gap from referral to enrollment. The session panelists noted that implementing automatic referrals and recruiting a physician champion can help facilitate referrals among colleagues with lower referral rates.

The second session of the day focused on navigating challenges with insurance coverage for CR programs. Robert Berry, MS, ACSM-CEP, FAACVPR, from Henry Ford Health discussed strategies to minimize insurance delays in starting CR. It is critical to know the regulations and policies that guide CR so that staff can work within them to reduce delays to enrollment. Like the prior session, implementing automatic discharge order sets that include CR for eligible patients can minimize delay, but more work may be needed within an institution to work through pre-authorizations that often accompany CR use. Dedicated liaisons can be a critical resource for addressing insurance issues and securing enrollment during the hospital stay. Jacqueline Evans of Covenant HealthCare reiterated the importance of understanding the regulations and policies of major insurers and developing tools to educate colleagues and patients. Being the local expert can ensure the financial health of the CR program and minimize the insurance burden for patients.

The day's final session featured discussions about how to better engage patients and providers in CR. Greg Merritt of Patient is Partner discussed his experience with CR—having survived a cardiac event and benefitted from participating in CR—and how patients could be involved to improve the CR experience. Integrating former graduates of CR programs into the orientation process may help alleviate fear and concerns facing new attendees. He also challenged the group to think about how CR could be reshaped to reflect the patient population or foster better adherence through engaging with community partners such as dog shelters or social groups. Patients are often an untapped resource and can help innovate CR to improve participation.

The Healthy Behavior Optimization for Michigan (HBOM) collaborative closed out the day with a brainstorming session on how attendees might innovate the current CR system to create better experiences and outcomes for all patients. Attendees raised challenges that face vulnerable populations, such as access to nutritional foods and health literacy. Solutions to these issues could include standardized and accessible resources for patient education and opportunities to provide nutritional support to patients such as grocery delivery services. Developing peer support systems and community-building among CR graduates may also facilitate a better introduction to new patients and improve long-term adherence to behavior changes developed during the program.

Several next steps were identified at the conclusion of the meeting. First, the MVC and BMC2 collaboratives will continue to work towards broader dissemination of CR reports to relevant stakeholders in Michigan. MVC’s latest CR reports were distributed to MVC and BMC2 members this week. In these reports, members can see how their CR utilization rates compared to their peers throughout Michigan within 90 days of discharge following transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR), coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG), percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), acute myocardial infarction (AMI), and congestive heart failure (CHF). The reports also included figures for the mean number of days to a patient’s first CR visit and the mean number of CR visits within 90 days. Since these reports were the first version released following the May announcement of new collaborative-wide CR goals, the reports also include figures detailing a hospital’s rates relative to those goals (see Figure 1). The first goal is to reach 40% CR utilization for TAVR, SAVR, CABG, PCI, and AMI patients. Currently across the collaborative, 30% of patients utilize CR following one of these “main five” procedures. The second statewide goal is a collaborative-wide utilization rate of 10% for CHF patients since only about 3% of CHF patients currently utilize the program.

Figure 1.

In addition to report dissemination, several other next steps were identified at the conclusion of the recent MiCR meeting. A second next step was to collate resources that have been developed by individual institutions for broader dissemination. In addition, continued collaboration between the MiCR and HBOM teams will seek to develop solutions that address key behavioral factors and barriers to CR. Lastly, the MiCR team will continue to develop relationships and provide content that works towards its mission of improving CR participation for all eligible individuals in Michigan. If you are interested in collaborating with the MiCR team, please reach out to MVC or BMC2.