Medicare Shared Savings ACOs and Hospice Care for Ischemic Stroke Patients.
OBJECTIVES: Palliative care services have the potential to improve the quality of end-of-life care and reduce cost. Services such as the Medicare hospice benefit, however, are often underutilized among stroke patients with a poor prognosis. We tested the hypothesis that the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) is associated with increased hospice enrollment and inpatient comfort measures only among incident ischemic stroke patients with a high mortality risk. DESIGN: A difference-in-differences design was used to compare outcomes before and after hospital participation in the MSSP for patients discharged from MSSP hospitals (N = 273) vs non-MSSP hospitals (N = 1490). SETTING: Records from a national registry, Get with the Guidelines (GWTG)-Stroke, were linked to Medicare hospice claims (2010-2015). PARTICIPANTS: Fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and older hospitalized for incident ischemic stroke at a GWTG-Stroke hospital from January 2010 to December 2014 (N = 324 959). INTERVENTION: Discharge from an MSSP hospital or beneficiary alignment with an MSSP Accountable Care Organization (ACO). MEASUREMENTS: Hospice enrollment in the year following stroke. RESULTS: Among patients with high mortality risk, ACO alignment was associated with a 16% increase in odds of hospice enrollment (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 1.16; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.06-1.26), increasing the probability of hospice enrollment from 20% to 22%. In the low mortality risk group, discharge from an MSSP vs non-MSSP hospital was associated with a decrease in the predicted probability of inpatient comfort measures or discharge to hospice from 9% to 8% (OR = .82; CI = .74-.91), and ACO alignment was associated with reduced odds of a short stay (<7 days) (OR = .86; CI = .77-.96). CONCLUSION: Among ischemic stroke patients with severe stroke or indicators of high mortality risk, MSSP was associated with increased hospice enrollment. MSSP contract incentives may motivate improved end-of-life care among the subgroups most likely to benefit.
Kaufman, BG; O'Brien, EC; Stearns, SC; Matsouaka, RA; Holmes, GM; Weinberger, M; Schwamm, LH; Smith, EE; Fonarow, GC; Xian, Y; Taylor, DH
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