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Latest Sepsis Report Compares Medicare Advantage and Medicare FFS Patient Outcomes

Latest Sepsis Report Compares Medicare Advantage and Medicare FFS Patient Outcomes

The Michigan Value Collaborative distributed refreshed push reports this week for its sepsis service line, providing hospital members with updated figures and measures since the last refresh in April.

The version shared with members this week compares MVC hospitals on 90-day risk-adjusted total episode payments, inpatient length of stay, Intensive Care Unit (ICU)/Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) utilization, inpatient mortality and discharge to hospice, 90-day post-acute care utilization, and 90-day readmission rates. Each figure presented reflects 90-day episodes with index admissions from 7/1/18 – 6/30/21 for Medicare Fee-For-Service (FFS), Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) PPO Commercial, Blue Care Network (BCN) Commercial, BCBSM PPO Medicare Advantage (MA), and BCN MA. Most of the measures also include comparison groups for the "MVC All” average across the collaborative as well as the average for each hospital’s assigned geographic region of Michigan.

This week’s reports stratified many measures by BCBSM/BCN Medicare Advantage and traditional Medicare FFS to investigate differences in outcomes and utilization between these two patient groups. MA saw large increases in yearly enrollment over the last decade, resulting in a growing interest in the difference in quality and cost measures compared to traditional Medicare FFS. Recent research suggested that MA patients experience better outcomes and cost less. This held true for some of the measures in MVC’s latest report. Despite the fact that the MA population is older (77 years) than the Medicare FFS population (72 years), the 90-day readmission rate (see Figure 1) among Medicare FFS sepsis patients was higher (33%) than that of MA sepsis patients (27%).

Figure 1.

Other noticeable differences between the patient populations included disease burden and social barriers. The Medicare FFS population had a greater comorbidity burden than the MA population; 57% of MA patients had three or more comorbidities whereas 61% of the Medicare FFS population had three or more comorbidities. The Medicare FFS population was also more likely to reside in an at-risk or distressed Zip code according to the Distressed Communities Index (37% vs. 31%).

Interestingly, the average 90-day risk-adjusted total episode spending payment among sepsis patients was higher for MA ($38,314) than Medicare FFS ($34,434) (see Figure 2). However, the claims data used in MVC’s report were both price standardized and risk adjusted, so dollars are actually a proxy for healthcare utilization. When taking into account patient factors and payer, BCBSM/BCN MA sepsis patients used more resources than Medicare FFS sepsis patients. Without taking patient factors and payer into account, Medicare FFS sepsis patients used more resources than BCBSM/BCN MA sepsis patients.

Figure 2.

Hospitals can learn more about the differing demographics of these two populations and their BCBSM/BCN commercial counterparts in their patient population snapshot table, a figure that was carried forward from the April reports. The latest reports included additional rows for the rate of septic shock and for the percentage of patients living in an “at-risk” or “distressed” Zip code. The latter is determined by the Economic Innovation Group’s Distressed Communities Index (DCI) data set, which incorporates economic indicators such as education, employment, and income to categorize patient Zip codes as prosperous, comfortable, mid-tier, at-risk, or distressed. The population snapshot table was intended to help hospitals better understand their sepsis patient population. The other demographics included were race, mean age, top three patient Zip codes, the most frequent and average number of comorbidities, and the proportion of patients with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.

The inclusion of COVID-positive patient percentages is an important statistic in the patient population snapshot table since the report included COVID patients. Knowing this percentage could help hospitals understand the extent to which their data is driven (or not) by patients with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis.

The latest sepsis reports were also distributed to members of the Michigan Hospital Medicine Safety Consortium (HMS), which partnered with MVC on the original development of this service line for MVC’s registry. MVC plans to provide system-level versions of the latest sepsis report in the coming weeks.

If you have suggestions on how these reports can be improved or the data made more actionable, the Coordinating Center would love to hear from you. We are also seeking feedback on how collaborative members are using this information in their quality improvement projects. Please reach out at Michigan-Value-Collaborative@med.umich.edu.

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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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Sepsis Push Reports Include Demographics, COVID Patients

Sepsis Push Reports Include Demographics, COVID Patients

For the last two years, the Michigan Value Collaborative (MVC) Coordinating Center has offered a sepsis service line developed in partnership with the Michigan Hospital Medicine Safety Consortium (HMS). In conjunction with this work, reports customized to each member hospital are distributed each year. The most recent iteration shared with members this week features several updates from the 2021 versions.

A new patient population snapshot table is one new feature that the MVC Coordinating Center added in order to integrate its demographic data. These tables (see Figure 1 for a sample table of a blinded acute-care hospital) provide each hospital with demographics for their sepsis patient population, including race, mean age, top patient zip codes, the most frequent and average number of comorbidities, the proportion of dual-eligible patients, and the proportion of patients with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19. Furthermore, this data is stratified by payer, providing additional insights into specific groups of patients.

Figure 1.

The inclusion of COVID-positive patient percentages is an important statistic since this iteration of the sepsis push report includes COVID patients, whereas the Coordinating Center removed these patients in previous versions. This final row of the patient population snapshot table will help hospitals understand the extent to which their data is driven (or not) by patients with a confirmed COVID diagnosis code. Across the collaborative, 90-day total episode payments increased in 2020, which can likely be attributed to episodes with a COVID diagnosis; however, the 2020 average is not much higher than the average from 2018 through early 2019 (see Figure 2). Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit regions of Michigan at different times, regional comparisons for select measures will be particularly useful in understanding one’s data. Different versions of the report were created for acute-care and critical access hospitals, which allowed for tailored comparison groups.

Figure 2.

The complete report compares MVC hospitals on 90-day risk-adjusted total episode payments, inpatient length of stay, Intensive Care Unit (ICU)/Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) utilization, inpatient mortality and discharge to hospice, 90-day post-acute care utilization, and 90-day readmission rates. Each figure presented reflects index admissions from 1/1/18 – 12/31/20 for Medicare FFS, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) PPO Commercial, Blue Care Network (BCN) Commercial, BCBSM PPO Medicare Advantage, BCN Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid.

In addition to continuing to offer its sepsis push reports, the MVC Coordinating Center also offers a bimonthly sepsis workgroup. The next workgroup will take place on Thursday, May 26 from 2-3 p.m., and will feature a presentation about successes in sepsis-bundle compliance. Register today to join the MVC Coordinating Center for this presentation and discussion.

If you have any suggestions on how these reports can be improved or the data made more actionable, the Coordinating Center would love to hear from you. We are also seeking feedback on how collaborative members are using this information in their quality improvement projects. Please reach out at michiganvaluecollaborative@gmail.com.

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2021 Surviving Sepsis Campaign Guidelines Reviewed at Workgroup

2021 Surviving Sepsis Campaign Guidelines Reviewed at Workgroup

On December 7, 2021, the Michigan Value Collaborative (MVC) held its bi-monthly virtual workgroup on sepsis featuring Dr. Hallie Prescott, Associate Professor at Michigan Medicine and the physician lead on the Michigan Hospital Medicine Safety Consortium (HMS) Sepsis Initiative. For this MVC and HMS co-sponsored workgroup, Dr. Prescott presented Updates in Sepsis: What is new in 2021 SSC Guidelines. Dr. Prescott is a pulmonary and critical care medicine specialist, and she practices clinically in the intensive care units at the University of Michigan Health and Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs hospitals. She is co-chair of the Surviving Sepsis Campaign Adult Guidelines and a council member of the International Sepsis Forum.

The workgroup began with an introduction to the International Surviving Sepsis Campaign (SSC) guidelines and bundles, which are resources and implementation tools used to reduce sepsis and septic shock worldwide. The SSC Guidelines were originally published in 2004 and have been updated every four years, with the most recent edition being published in October 2021. A large panel of experts collaborates to evaluate the evidence and make recommendations (scaled by the strength of recommendation). Since their initial publication, health systems from the United States to Spain have used the SSC guidelines and tools to improve sepsis and septic shock care and outcomes.

Dr. Prescott’s presentation describing the SSC 2021 Adult Guidelines highlighted several recommendations and detailed the reasoning behind some of the changes made since 2016. The highlighted guidelines included recommendations for infection (antibiotic timing, use of antimicrobials) (see Figure 1), hemodynamics (resuscitative fluids, vasopressor timing), ventilation (ECMO), and additional therapies (IV corticosteroids, IV Vitamin C). In addition, a new section for long-term outcomes (see Figure 2) was also added to the newest guidelines and reviewed during the workgroup, addressing patient education, health and social screenings, and post-discharge follow-up. Out of all the discussed recommendations, the MVC and HMS members in attendance were most interested in antibiotic use, resuscitative fluids, central line use, and treatment prioritization.

Figure 1.

Figure 2.

The updated SSC Guidelines offer informative and valuable recommendations that can be used to improve sepsis care and outcomes. If you were unable to attend the workgroup or are simply interested in reviewing the presentation and discussion, a recording of the workgroup is available here. To read the full published SSC 2021 Adult Guidelines and review additional resources, click here.

The MVC Coordinating Center is interested in hearing how your organization has utilized the SSC 2021 Adult Guidelines to improve sepsis care and outcomes. If you would like to present at or attend an upcoming MVC workgroup, please contact the MVC Coordinating Center at the michiganvaluecollaborative@gmail.com.