Background: The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is the largest integrated US health system to implement the patient-centered medical home. The Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) initiative (implemented 2010-2014) aims to achieve team based care, improved access, and care management for more than 5 million primary care patients nationwide.
Objectives: To describe PACT and evaluate interim changes in PACT-related care processes.
Study design: Data from the VHA Corporate Data Warehouse were obtained from April 2009 (pre- PACT) to September 2012. All patients assigned to a primary care provider (PCP) at all VHA facilities were included.
Methods: Nonparametric tests of trend across time points.
Results: VHA increased primary care staff levels from April 2010 to December 2011 (2.3 to 3.0 staff per PCP full-time equivalent). In-person PCP visit rates slightly decreased from April 2009 to April 2012 (53 to 43 per 100 patients per calendar quarter; P < .01), while in-person nurse encounter rates remained steady. Large increases were seen in phone encounters (2.7 to 28.8 per 100 patients per quarter; P < .01), enhanced personal health record use (3% to 13% of patients enrolled), and electronic messaging to providers (0.01% to 2.3% of patients per quarter). Post hospitalization follow-up improved (6.6% to 61% of VA hospital discharges), but home telemonitoring (0.8% to 1.4% of patients) and group visits (0.2 to 0.65 per 100 patients per quarter; P < .01) grew slowly.
Conclusions: Thirty months into PACT, primary care staff levels and phone and electronic encounters have greatly increased; other changes have been positive but slower.