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MVC Celebrates Heart Month, Annual Cardiac Rehab Week

MVC Celebrates Heart Month, Annual Cardiac Rehab Week

Throughout February’s American Heart Month, the Michigan Value Collaborative (MVC) has and will continue to provide cardiac rehab resources and information on behalf of the Michigan Cardiac Rehab Network (MiCR). This week, MVC also shared content as part of National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week, joining other organizations across the country to promote the benefits of the program and share information on statewide initiatives. As cardiac rehab week comes to a close, MVC is proud to highlight recent activity.

The MiCR partnership was established by MVC and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Cardiovascular Consortium (BMC2), who have partnered in recent years to support quality improvement and innovation around cardiac rehabilitation participation. Although the strategies and initiatives have changed and expanded over time, the key goal remains: to equitably increase cardiac rehabilitation utilization among eligible patients across the state of Michigan. This week, MiCR sought to educate providers within the BMC2 and MVC collaborative about the benefits of the program, current statewide participation rates, and novel initiatives in place to support improvement.

One product highlighted this week was the MiCR cardiac rehab hospital-level push reports, which benchmark cardiac rehabilitation participation across the collaborative. The 2023 report highlighted significant variation in performance and also demonstrated that several hospitals in Michigan are already successfully reaching or exceeding goals for utilization (Figure 1).

Figure 1.

Current MiCR resources, including both hospital-level cardiac rehab benchmarking reports and the MiCR Best Practices Toolkit, were designed to serve members in tracking hospital cardiac rehabilitation utilization and provide guidance to improve enrollment and adherence to the program; however, neither resource specifically investigated patient barriers to participation. To bolster successful referrals to cardiac rehabilitation in Michigan, MiCR recently partnered with Healthy Behavior Optimization for Michigan (HBOM) to launch a new program titled NewBeat. Designed to deliver heartfelt, pragmatic support to new cardiac rehabilitation patients, NewBeat is a multi-component intervention designed to address three common barriers to patient enrollment and participation: lack of education, unclear physician endorsements, and transportation access.

To address the first barrier, MiCR recently launched its website, which houses patient and provider-facing resources, MiCR event dates, and publications in one convenient location. The website already includes features such as a cardiac rehabilitation location finder and unified cardiac rehabilitation resources, but over the coming months will continue to expand.

There is research evidence that strong, personal physician referrals increase the likelihood of cardiac rehabilitation participation. For many patients, in fact, a personal referral is the only reason they sign up. Following the data, NewBeat’s second intervention component is its Cardiac Care Cards, which leverage the influence of cardiovascular providers in encouraging cardiac rehabilitation enrollment in a memorable and personal way. The cards, which can be saved and displayed on kitchen tables and refrigerators, serve as a reminder to patients that the care team understands their recovery process and supports them as they enter cardiac rehabilitation as the next step in their recovery (Figure 2). Hospitals and rehab program staff can request on the MiCR website.

Figure 2.

As the initiative continues to develop, NewBeat will grow to include patient success stories, provider-facing videos, and an informational handout on transportation resources.

One of MiCR’s key strategies in promoting the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation is fostering collaboration between providers and program staff. One of these opportunities is through an MVC workgroup series focused on cardiac rehabilitation, with the next session taking place at noon on Thurs., Feb. 22 (Figure 3). The workgroup will include a guest presentation by Devraj Sukul, MD, MSc, Co-Director of MiCR and Associate Director of BMC2 PCI. The presentation will feature recent findings about cardiac rehabilitation liaisons and their impact on patient enrollment. Register here to participate. MiCR also recently sent a save the date for its next stakeholder meeting, which will take place virtually on Fri., April 5, 10-11 a.m.

Figure 3.

MVC would like to thank everyone who contributed to Cardiac Rehabilitation Week this year. Advocating for cardiac rehabilitation continues to be a high priority for the MVC team, and the Coordinating Center is inspired by the recent growth and interest in this endeavor. Collectively, by promoting cardiac rehabilitation we can save lives and help patients in Michigan get back on their feet faster. Please contact the MVC team with any questions about attending future cardiac rehabilitation events or receiving related materials.

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MVC, BMC2 Launch Michigan Cardiac Rehab Network & Toolkit

MVC, BMC2 Launch Michigan Cardiac Rehab Network & Toolkit

This year in the United States, cardiovascular disease will be responsible for one in every four deaths. Despite its prevalence, few cardiac patients eligible for cardiac rehabilitation utilize this life-changing program. In response, the Michigan Value Collaborative (MVC) and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Cardiovascular Consortium (BMC2) recently established the new Michigan Cardiac Rehab Network (MiCR) to collaborate on efforts that heighten awareness of these programs and support meaningful improvement in Michigan.

Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is a comprehensive program encompassing supervised exercise, nutrition education, smoking cessation, mental health resources, skills training for heart-healthy lifestyles, and peer support from others who are experiencing a similar life event. It has a Class IA indication for recent cardiac-related events or procedures, meaning there is high-quality evidence that it is beneficial to patients. In fact, individuals who complete the full program of 36 sessions have a 47% lower risk of death and a 31% lower risk of heart attack than those who attend only one session. The evidence is clear that CR extends life and improves quality of life for patients with a recent cardiac-related event or procedure. Unfortunately, only one in three eligible Michiganders participates—a rate well below the Million Hearts nationwide goal of 70% participation.

Using claims data, MVC can assess both initiation and adherence – whether and when someone starts CR, and how long they keep going. There is wide variability in CR rates between MVC’s member hospitals (see Figure 1 for a sample plot from a recent blinded report). The site with the highest rate of cardiac rehab after coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG), for example, succeeds at sending 75% of their CABG patients to CR, while another only sends 28% of their CABG patients. This variation shows that it is possible to reach high CR rates, and hospitals can learn from each other to make improvements that save lives and reduce costs.

Figure 1. Collaborative-Wide CR Use Following CABG Discharge

MiCR was developed for this reason and will work to equitably increase CR participation for all eligible individuals in Michigan. Serving as Co-Directors of MiCR are Mike Thompson, Co-Director of MVC, and Dr. Devraj Sukul, Associate Director of BMC2 PCI. MiCR will distribute regular CR utilization summaries to relevant providers, convene regular meetings with its stakeholder and advisory groups, create resources that help hospitals and CR facilities optimize CR utilization, and continue to leverage the expertise of both CQIs.

In one of its first coordinated efforts, MiCR worked with CR providers and content experts to create a Cardiac Rehab Best Practices Toolkit, which was launched in April. It outlines initiation, maintenance, and innovation strategies for increasing the utilization of CR (see Figure 2 for a sample page). MVC encourages members to turn to this tool as they work to encourage the enrollment of more patients.

Figure 2. Sample Page from MiCR Best Practices Toolkit

The partner CQIs behind MiCR also released new statewide goals for improved CR utilization. Currently, 30% of patients utilize CR following transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR), coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG), percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), and acute myocardial infarction (AMI). The first goal is to reach 40% CR utilization for TAVR, SAVR, CABG, PCI, and AMI patients. In addition, only about 3% of congestive heart failure (CHF) patients currently utilize CR. The second statewide goal is a collaborative-wide utilization rate of 10% for CHF patients. Progress on these goals will be shared by MVC in its CR reports sent every six months.

The two CQIs will also continue with their respective activities in the CR space. MVC supports CR participation in two primary ways. One is providing opportunities for MVC members to collaborate, and the second is the preparation of reports using its unique multi-payer data sources. The MVC team supports collaboration through stakeholder meetings and workgroups, which allow sites and clinicians to share solutions for common challenges. The reports MVC prepares analyze member claims data with time-specific hospital-level information on CR enrollment and completed visits within one year of discharge. This allows hospitals to benchmark their performance against peers and identify areas for improvement. MVC will also share unblinded data on CR rates with members at its May semi-annual meeting in one week, which is meant to drive conversation and encourage best practice sharing across the collaborative. The MVC team hopes that its outreach and resources help members to save lives by providing strong endorsements for CR and addressing barriers that may limit patient participation.

For more information on MVC’s CR efforts, visit MVC’s Value Coalition Campaign webpage. For more information about CR, view this MVC video or visit the Million Hearts website. If you have questions about any of the above activities or resources, reach out to the Coordinating Center at michiganvaluecollaborative@gmail.com.