Background: The fee-for-service reimbursement system that dominates health care throughout the United States links payment to a billable office visit with a physician or advanced practice provider. Under Oregon's Alternative Payment and Advanced Care Model (APCM), initiated in 2013, participating community health centers (CHCs) received per-member-per-month payments for empaneled Medicaid patients in lieu of standard fee-for-service Medicaid payments. With Medicaid revenue under APCM no longer tied solely to the volume of visits, the Oregon Health Authority needed a way to document the full range of care and services that CHCs were providing to their patients, including nontraditional patient encounters taking place outside of traditional face-to-face visits with a billable provider. Toward this end, program leadership defined 18 visit and nonvisit-based care activities-"Care Services That Engage Patients" (Care STEPs)-that APCM CHCs were asked to document in the electronic health record to demonstrate continued empanelment.
Objective: To describe trends in rates of traditional face-to-face office visits and Care STEPs documentation among CHCs involved in the first 3 phases of APCM implementation.
Research design: The study population included the 9 CHCs involved in the first 3 phases of APCM implementation. Using data from the electronic health record, quarterly summary rates for office visits and Care STEPs were calculated for the first 18 quarters of implementation (March 1, 2013 to June 30, 2017).
Results: Among participating CHCs, the mean rate of face-to-face visits with billable providers declined from 635 ± 128 to 461 ± 109 visits/1000 patients/quarter (mean difference, -174; 95% CI, -255, -94). Care STEPs documentation increased from 831 ± 174 to 1017 ± 369 Care Steps/1000 patients/quarter, but the difference was not statistically significant. Care STEPs within the category of New Visit Types were documented most frequently. There were significant increases in documentation of Patient Care Coordination and Integration and a small, albeit significant, increase in Reducing Barriers to Health. There was a significant decline in the documentation of Care STEPs by physicians and advanced practice providers an increase in documentation by ancillary staff.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that APCM is increasing CHCs' capacity to experiment with new ways of providing care beyond the traditional face-to-face office visit with a physician or advanced practice provider. However, CHCs may choose different ways to change the delivery of care and some CHCs have implemented these changes more quickly than others. Future mixed-methods research is needed to understand barriers and facilitators to changing the delivery of care after APCM implementation.
Keywords: Capitation Fee; Community Health Centers; Health Care Systems; Health Policy; Medicaid; Oregon; Organizational Innovation; Patient-Centered Care; Primary Health Care; Workforce.
© Copyright 2021 by the American Board of Family Medicine.