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The research team met on a regular basis to discuss codebook revisions and emerging themes. At least two researchers independently reviewed and coded each transcript.
We adhered to the conventional standard of kappa values greater than 0. After this reconciliation process, the coding comparison queries for these transcripts were subsequently rerun with achievement of all kappa values greater than 0. Across the board, providers made explicit that the NCC was the single most valuable and visible program element. Focus groups with providers also revealed that over time, the NCCs became more integrated with care teams and trusted to assume greater responsibility for CareFirst PCMH tasks and patient care.
Physician feedback conveyed two ways by which NCCs added value. First, NCCs supported patients through care coordination activities such as making appointments for patients, holding weekly patient calls, and training patients with self-management skills.
Second, the NCCs supported physicians by initiating the care plan process. Effective NCCs were thought to be proactive, engaged, and resolutely committed to patient care. Providers found that NCC follow-up communications with patients after a visit were particularly valuable.
Many providers also stated that patients with care plans developed a close relationship with the NCC and were more likely to disclose non-compliance issues with the NCC as a result. They feel comfortable working with them …. In contrast, NCCs who were inflexible or unreceptive to provider input were perceived as less effective. Providers were unsettled with NCCs who were overly fixated with CareFirst program rules rather than prioritizing patient care. For most providers, the individualized care plans were viewed positively as an effective method of communication between the NCC and physician regarding patient care management goals, patient needs, and resolving patient-related issues.
Providers viewed care plans as particularly valuable for patients with complex needs—for example, diabetics were commonly cited in this context.
Although care plans served as a valuable care coordination tool, some providers remarked that care plans did not help with clinical decision-making. In this context, providers preferred to use their existing medical records. I think the care plan provides us that … does it help me as a clinician take care of my patient?
I would say no. While care plans were valued as a way to facilitate care coordination and encourage patient engagement in better self-management of conditions, a few providers expressed several concerns with the care plans.
First, some patients were initially assessed a fee for care plan enrollment, which created a barrier to access for these patients. However, the care plan fees were later removed. Second, many physicians expressed uncertainty about care plan eligibility requirements and had differing views on which patients could benefit from the care plan process.
Also, providers described difficulties in connecting some patients with mental health services and resources. Perceptions of OIAs varied across panels. For example, most providers in large health systems revealed that they did not receive or were unaware of how OIAs were distributed to individual providers. However, providers in small independent practices, where the OIA was a valuable revenue stream for practice operations, thought the OIA was key to engagement.
In contrast, other providers thought the OIA was not influential—stating that the most valuable part of the program was the additional support of the NCC and other resources. By all means, the outcome incentive award does not hurt, and it is always nice to be compensated for the extra time. To me, the biggest value is having that additional care management support …. Several grievances were raised about the distribution of OIAs, which were related to fairness, distrust of data, and a lack of transparency on how OIAs were calculated.
Many providers reported not receiving OIA bonuses when they claimed they earned it. Additionally, a number of providers said the data and methods used to determine OIAs were not accurate or transparent. We were so good the year before we entered the program. While CareFirst made multiple changes to the OIA criteria over the past few years and made extensive efforts to communicate the changes with clinicians, most providers remained confused about the criteria or distrustful of the data used to calculate the OIA, even though a majority of all participating providers earned an OIA based on other program data.
Panel meetings were implemented after as a requirement for provider engagement, which was one of several performance measures used by CareFirst to calculate OIAs. Panel meetings were largely viewed as unproductive and inconvenient. Many providers were displeased when program consultants dismissed their concerns or questions about the data.
Other providers thought the panel meetings created an unpleasant, competitive environment. Yeah, the quarterly meetings are not helpful in that way, in improving anything.
What we say matters nothing. They have their rules. They have their guidelines. That's all that counts. During the initial years of the program, few providers used the Searchlight data portal. Over time, increased physician engagement with the data portal was facilitated by CareFirst representatives who helped with logging into Searchlight and printing out reports for clinicians and office staff.
However, most providers viewed the Searchlight data portal as the least valuable program element. One reason for this view was the data portal was inconvenient and difficult to access. For example, the password requirements were overly stringent, and passwords expired on a frequent basis. In addition, providers did not find the content useful nor the interface user-friendly. Some providers had a distrustful relationship with CareFirst throughout the PCMH initiative, while other physicians expressed a collaborative relationship.
A number of providers felt excluded from the decision-making process and felt as if CareFirst employed a top-down approach to program design. This sentiment was expressed when providers discussed the quarterly panel meetings, program consultants, and CareFirst data reports.
Some providers believed their feedback on program challenges, requirements, and expectations was ignored. Other providers felt their time and professional autonomy were devalued when they were expected to call high-cost specialists to discuss ways for specialists to be more cost-efficient.
A suggestion by providers to mitigate this top-down approach was to create a board of physician representatives from each panel to review and discuss changes to program requirements with CareFirst leadership. Representative quotes for each of the cross-cutting themes are available in the online appendix.
Some providers perceived a contributing factor to tension with CareFirst was limited two-way communication. Many participating providers were not aware of important program requirements and expectations. Specifically, participants described a lack of transparency on how OIAs were calculated, criteria used to rate high-cost specialists, and the selection of patients for care plans.
Communication between CareFirst representatives and providers during panel meetings was viewed as punitive and one-sided. A few providers expressed skepticism of the data presented and found that CareFirst representatives were not responsive to their comments or questions. Some providers believed that communication challenges led to a strained relationship between providers and CareFirst, which negatively influenced their level of engagement with the program.
One key theme that emerged was differing priorities between providers and CareFirst on selecting patients for care plans. The CareFirst PCMH goal of selecting historically high-cost patients for care plans differed at times with provider instincts to prioritize high-risk patients to reduce future hospitalizations. Some providers wanted to enroll high-risk patients whom CareFirst found to be ineligible because they did not have high historical costs.
Various cost-related data helped to inform decisions on selecting patients for care plans, specialist referrals, and prescribing medications. Providers were also given data reports on OIA bonuses and panel-wide statistics. Several issues were raised, including the misattribution of patients to a specific physician, the inclusion of deceased patients in reports, and a lack of timely data updates.
First, some providers did not find panel aggregated data to be useful because it was not specific to an individual practice. Second, some providers refused to make cost-cutting decisions at the expense of quality. For example, PCPs said that they would not choose a specialist who is relatively low-cost over a trusted specialist who provided high-quality care.
Third, providers expressed concern that data without context had limited utility. Some providers expressed the view that the PCMH program requirements were extensive and demanding. For example, the requirement to log into the Searchlight data portal on a regular basis, attend mandatory panel meetings each quarter, review data reports from CareFirst, fill out care plan paperwork, and recruit patients to be eligible for care plans were viewed as additional burdens on providers because it took time away from patient care.
In addition, a majority of providers made clear that they were pressed for time and overwhelmed by competing demands. Our study findings revealed that provider experiences with individual PCMH program elements varied considerably. First, nurse care coordinators NCCs represented the single most valuable element of the program.
Over time, NCCs became more integrated with practices as trusted care team members who assumed greater roles in patient care and PCMH administrative tasks. This finding is consistent with other studies that identify nurses as critical team members in enhancing care coordination. However, providers held mixed views on the outcome incentive awards OIAs. These results are consistent with a prior study that found many physicians did not understand or care about the OIAs. Finally, a majority of providers viewed the Searchlight data portal as the least valuable element of the PCMH program.
We also identified several cross-cutting themes based on the perspectives of PCMH providers. First, some providers felt alienated from decisions on program design and perceived a top-down approach in how the PCMH program was being implemented. Second, communication with CareFirst influenced provider engagement. For some providers, strained relationships in panel meetings were due to perceptions that CareFirst representatives had been dismissive of comments and some questions. Third, some providers felt that CareFirst had a different priority for selecting high-cost patients for care plans based on historical data, instead of a proactive approach that sought to prevent high-risk patients from becoming high-cost in the future.
The implementation of a PCMH program can place additional time and administrative burden on primary care physicians who may already experience stress, dissatisfaction, and burnout. Maintaining a high level of provider trust in payer-based reports is essential to provider engagement, buy-in, and ownership of program results.
Prior research has found that physician satisfaction is associated with a greater sense of control related to quality improvement activities. Active provider engagement in the development of PCMH models may help to improve buy-in and decrease burden.
This study had several data limitations. First, the study sample for the qualitative analysis was limited to 65 participants in focus groups and 16 telephone interviews. Second, the analysis was restricted to providers within a single geographic region Maryland and Northern Virginia , so these findings are not generalizable. Third, our findings may be subject to selection bias in that providers who agreed to participate in the focus groups may have differing views from those who declined to participate.
Results from this study have practical implications for the development of other payer-based PCMH initiatives. NCCs and the targeted use of individualized care plans for patients with complex needs are essential components in an effective PCMH program.
Payers seek greater transformation in the delivery of primary care services with an increased focus on patient-centered, comprehensive, coordinated, high-quality, and efficient care. Understanding provider perspectives and experiences with a payer-based PCMH program can guide the development and improvement of other payer-based initiatives. Our study, along with previous studies of the CareFirst PCMH program, provides contextual information on why specific program elements, such as the NCCs, are useful in improving care to patients and why other elements may be less useful, such as the Searchlight data portal.
Improving communication with providers and building trust in data reports are critical for effective implementation of a payer-based PCMH program. Future studies should examine the qualitative experiences of physicians in other payer-based PCMH programs and how these experiences affect provider engagement and satisfaction. We would like to thank Alan newman Research for their contributions in the production and gathering of written transcripts for this study.
All research protocols, focus group moderator guides and data collecition instruments were approved by the GMU Instituional Review Board. Each participant gave informed consent for the interview and audio-recording. Hough is an employee of Alan Newman Research. Nichols discloses receiving honoraria from the following organizations: WC Research, Inc.
All other authors declare they have no conflicts of interest. Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Alexander S Young. Genna Cohen. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions. Hector Rodriguez. Stephen Zuckerman. Robert Berenson , Stephen Zuckerman. Lorenzo Moreno. Anais Tuepker. Anna Sommers. Richard Stark. Heather Howard. Kathryn McDonald. Jason Roy. Klaus Lemke , Gary Weissman. Leighton Ku. Alice Levy.
Jessica Mittler , Megan Mchugh. Boniey I McNyandyvieva. Toni P Miles , Toni Miles. Arthur Blank. Robin Whitebird , Gary Oftedahl. Balmatee Bidassie, PhD. Michael Fetters. Vanessa Hiratsuka. Issidoros Sarinopoulos. Sarah L. Elliott Fisher. Sherril Gelmon.
Sara Singer. Patricia Gallagher. Holly Korda. Gemmae Fix. Michelle Lampman. Ann T. Sarah Ono. Richard Rieselbach. Janessa Porter. Sylvia Hysong. Scott Munsterman. Log in with Facebook Log in with Google. Remember me on this computer. Enter the email address you signed up with and we'll email you a reset link. Need an account? Click here to sign up. Download Free PDF. Len M Nichols. Related Papers. Engaging Patients and Families in the Medical Home. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions Collaboration in Pennsylvania: Rapidly spreading improved chronic care for patients to practices.
Incremental cost estimates for the patient-centered medical home. However, few studies have examined provider experiences and perspectives on the adoption of payer-based PCMH models in different practice settings.
Since initiatives. Telephone interviews were conducted with an care coordinator NCC who identifies patients with complex additional 14 physicians and 2 practice administrators. Writ- monitors their status. Individual care plans served as effective tools of and infrastructure limitations, and the need to change existing communication between the NCC and physician on pa- workflows. The online data portal was viewed as the least valuable element.
Improving communica- tion and trust in data reports are critical for effective adoption of payer-based PCMH models in different practice implementation. Future research should examine provid- settings.
To address this information implementation. All research protocols, focus group record EMR systems. The goal of the CareFirst PCMH moderator guides, and data collection instruments were ap- program was to improve the health of CareFirst members proved by the George Mason University Institutional Review and control growth in health care costs.
CareFirst developed Board. The panels were also designed to encour- numbers of CareFirst care plans. Our team recruited eight age peer consultation across practices as well as competition panels that had participated in focus groups in a previous study within and across panels.
Panels in ment increase for all participating groups that agreed to join this study represented primary care practices focused on adult the PCMH program. Also, participants were eligible for larger patients, with each panel comprised of 7 to 15 providers. Single independent panels met a performance target. Second, external nurse care coordi- consisted of a group of 10 to 15 PCPs from the same indepen- nators NCCs were provided at no charge to practices.
The dently owned practice. Health system panels were clusters of NCCs helped to manage high-cost patients and were highly practices owned by a large corporate entity.
Table 1 includes visible because of their supportive interactions with clinicians characteristics of the eight panels studied. A third program element was the use of individualized care Data Collection plans for a select group of patients. The NCC worked together with providers to develop care plans, which included a patient Focus groups and telephone interviews were conducted be- narrative, social and family history, medications, allergies, tween May and November with PCMH physicians, vital signs, encounter history, assessment, and care coordina- nurse practitioners, and office administrators.
A total of 65 tion team information. Telephone interviews were used to replace existing medical records. Each participant gave informed consent CareFirst representatives gave a summary of PCMH program for the interview and audio recording.
Experienced facilitators from Alan Newman workflow. Effective NCCs were thought to be proactive, Research, a consulting firm that specializes in physician re- engaged, and resolutely committed to patient care. De- search, conducted the focus groups and interviews. Data Analysis Providers found that NCC follow-up communications with Qualitative analysis of the interview transcripts was performed patients after a visit were particularly valuable.
Many pro- by a multidisciplinary team of researchers to maximize coding viders also stated that patients with care plans developed a insights. Our team consisted of specialists in health econom- close relationship with the NCC and were more likely to ics, primary care medicine, organization and management, disclose non-compliance issues with the NCC as a result. The research team met on a regular NCC They feel basis to discuss codebook revisions and emerging themes. We adhered to the conventional standard of In contrast, NCCs who were inflexible or unreceptive to kappa values greater than 0.
Providers were reliability. After this reconciliation process, the Care Plans. For most providers, the individualized care plans coding comparison queries for these transcripts were subse- quently rerun with achievement of all kappa values greater were viewed positively as an effective method of than 0.
Providers viewed care plans as particu- larly valuable for patients with complex needs—for example, RESULTS diabetics were commonly cited in this context. Across the board, providers made the data more explicit that the NCC was the single most valuable and visible program element.
Providers expressed unanimous sentiment Although care plans served as a valuable care coordination that the NCC was strongly linked to the overall efficacy of the tool, some providers remarked that care plans did not help CareFirst PCMH model. Focus groups with providers also with clinical decision-making. In this context, providers pre- revealed that over time, the NCCs became more integrated ferred to use their existing medical records.
If we NCCs added value. I think the care plan provides us that pointments for patients, holding weekly patient calls, and … does it help me as a clinician take care of my training patients with self-management skills. Second, the patient? I would say no. First, some patients were initially assessed a fee for care plan enrollment, which created a barrier Panel Meetings.
Panel meetings were implemented after to access for these patients. However, the care plan fees were as a requirement for provider engagement, which was one of later removed. Second, many physicians expressed uncertain- several performance measures used by CareFirst to calculate ty about care plan eligibility requirements and had differing OIAs. Panel meetings were largely viewed as unproductive views on which patients could benefit from the care plan and inconvenient.
Some providers felt that numbers were process. Many providers were displeased when program consultants dismissed their concerns or questions … I have some patients that need a care plan … but about the data. Yeah, the quarterly meetings are not helpful in that way, in improving anything.
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WebFind approved medical policies and operating procedures for all products offered by CareFirst in the online Medical Policy Reference Manual. Search Now Electronic Claims . WebFind a Doctor or Health Care Facility. Our directory allows you to search by provider last name or type of provider. To locate a provider within your plan’s network, you will need . The FCPS BlueChoice Advantage plan allows members to go to providers in CareFirst’s BlueChoice HMO and BluePreferred PPO networks. The BlueChoice network consists of over 7, primary care physicians is short for Patient- Centered Medical Home. PCMH focuses on the relationship between you and your provider. It’s designed to.