Medicare Chronic Care Management Payments and Financial Returns to Primary Care Practices: A Modeling Study

Ann Intern Med. 2015 Oct 20;163(8):580-8. doi: 10.7326/M14-2677. Epub 2015 Sep 22.


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 ,00 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.

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease / economics
  • Chronic Disease / therapy
  • Disease Management
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care / economics*
  • Medicare / economics*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Nurses
  • Physician Assistants
  • Primary Health Care / economics*
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration
  • Reimbursement Mechanisms*
  • United States