Original Research20 October 2015
A Modeling Study
    Author, Article, and Disclosure Information

    Abstract

    Background:

    Physicians have traditionally been reimbursed for face-to-face visits. A new non–visit-based payment for chronic care management (CCM) of Medicare patients took effect in January 2015.

    Objective:

    To estimate financial implications of CCM payment for primary care practices.

    Design:

    Microsimulation model incorporating national data on primary care use, staffing, expenditures, and reimbursements.

    Data Sources:

    National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and other published sources.

    Target Population:

    Medicare patients.

    Time Horizon:

    10 years.

    Perspective:

    Practice-level.

    Intervention:

    Comparison of CCM delivery approaches by staff and physicians.

    Outcome Measures:

    Net revenue per full-time equivalent (FTE) physician; time spent delivering CCM services.

    Results of Base-Case Analysis:

    If nonphysician staff were to deliver CCM services, net revenue to practices would increase despite opportunity and staffing costs. Practices could expect approximately $332 per enrolled patient per year (95% CI, $234 to $429) if CCM services were delivered by registered nurses (RNs), approximately $372 (CI, $276 to $468) if services were delivered by licensed practical nurses, and approximately $385 (CI, $286 to $485) if services were delivered by medical assistants. For a typical practice, this equates to more than $75 000 of net annual revenue per FTE physician and 12 hours of nursing service time per week if 50% of eligible patients enroll. At a minimum, 131 Medicare patients (CI, 115 to 140 patients) must enroll for practices to recoup the salary and overhead costs of hiring a full-time RN to provide CCM services.

    Results of Sensitivity Analysis:

    If physicians were to deliver all CCM services, approximately 25% of practices nationwide could expect net revenue losses due to opportunity costs of face-to-face visit time.

    Limitation:

    The CCM program may alter long-term primary care use, which is difficult to predict.

    Conclusion:

    Practices that rely on nonphysician team members to deliver CCM services will probably experience substantial net revenue gains but must enroll a sufficient number of eligible patients to recoup costs.

    Primary Funding Source:

    None.

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