Currently Viewing:
The American Journal of Managed Care October 2018
Putting the Pieces Together: EHR Communication and Diabetes Patient Outcomes
Marlon P. Mundt, PhD, and Larissa I. Zakletskaia, MA
Primary Care Physician Resource Use Changes Associated With Feedback Reports
Eva Chang, PhD, MPH; Diana S.M. Buist, PhD, MPH; Matt Handley, MD; Eric Johnson, MS; Sharon Fuller, BA; Roy Pardee, JD, MA; Gabrielle Gundersen, MPH; and Robert J. Reid, MD, PhD
From the Editorial Board: Bruce W. Sherman, MD
Bruce W. Sherman, MD
Recent Study on Site of Care Has Severe Limitations
Lucio N. Gordan, MD, and Debra Patt, MD
The Authors Respond and Stand Behind Their Findings
Yamini Kalidindi, MHA; Jeah Jung, PhD; and Roger Feldman, PhD
The Characteristics of Physician Practices Joining the Early ACOs: Looking Back to Look Forward
Stephen M. Shortell, PhD, MPH, MBA; Patricia P. Ramsay, MPH; Laurence C. Baker, PhD; Michael F. Pesko, PhD; and Lawrence P. Casalino, MD, PhD
Nudging Physicians and Patients With Autopend Clinical Decision Support to Improve Diabetes Management
Laura Panattoni, PhD; Albert Chan, MD, MS; Yan Yang, PhD; Cliff Olson, MBA; and Ming Tai-Seale, PhD, MPH
Medicare Underpayment for Diabetes Prevention Program: Implications for DPP Suppliers
Amanda S. Parsons, MD; Varna Raman, MBA; Bronwyn Starr, MPH; Mark Zezza, PhD; and Colin D. Rehm, PhD
Clinical Outcomes and Healthcare Use Associated With Optimal ESRD Starts
Peter W. Crooks, MD; Christopher O. Thomas, MD; Amy Compton-Phillips, MD; Wendy Leith, MS, MPH; Alvina Sundang, MBA; Yi Yvonne Zhou, PhD; and Linda Radler, MBA
Medicare Savings From Conservative Management of Low Back Pain
Alan M. Garber, MD, PhD; Tej D. Azad, BA; Anjali Dixit, MD; Monica Farid, BS; Edward Sung, BS, BSE; Daniel Vail, BA; and Jay Bhattacharya, MD, PhD
CMS HCC Risk Scores and Home Health Patient Experience Measures
Hsueh-Fen Chen, PhD; J. Mick Tilford, PhD; Fei Wan, PhD; and Robert Schuldt, MA
An Early Warning Tool for Predicting at Admission the Discharge Disposition of a Hospitalized Patient
Nicholas Ballester, PhD; Pratik J. Parikh, PhD; Michael Donlin, MSN, ACNP-BC, FHM; Elizabeth K. May, MS; and Steven R. Simon, MD, MPH
Currently Reading
Gatekeeping and Patterns of Outpatient Care Post Healthcare Reform
Michael L. Barnett, MD, MS; Zirui Song, MD, PhD; Asaf Bitton, MD, MPH; Sherri Rose, PhD; and Bruce E. Landon, MD, MBA, MSc

Gatekeeping and Patterns of Outpatient Care Post Healthcare Reform

Michael L. Barnett, MD, MS; Zirui Song, MD, PhD; Asaf Bitton, MD, MPH; Sherri Rose, PhD; and Bruce E. Landon, MD, MBA, MSc
Is specialist “gatekeeping” in modern health maintenance organization (HMO) insurance associated with differences in outpatient care? The study finds that HMO gatekeeping may meaningfully reduce specialist utilization.

Objectives: As US healthcare spending increases, insurers are focusing attention on decreasing potentially avoidable specialist care. Little recent research has assessed whether the design of modern health maintenance organization (HMO) insurance is associated with lower utilization of outpatient specialty care versus less restrictive preferred provider organization (PPO) plans.

Study Design: Observational study of Massachusetts residents aged 21 to 64 years with any HMO or PPO insurance coverage from 2010 to 2013.

Methods: We examined rates and patterns of primary care visits, new specialist visits, and specialist spending among HMO versus PPO enrollees. We estimated multivariable regression models for each outcome, adjusting for patient and insurance characteristics.

Results: From 2010 to 2013, 546,397 and 295,427 individuals had continuous HMO or PPO coverage, respectively. HMO patients had fewer annual new specialist visits per member versus PPO patients (unadjusted, 0.37 vs 0.43), a difference after adjustment of 0.05 annual visits, or a 12% relative decrease among HMO members (P <.001). These visits were more likely to be with a specialist in the same health system as the patient’s primary care physician (44.9% vs 40.7%; adjusted difference, 2.8 percentage points; P <.001). Mean annual spending on new specialist visits and subsequent follow-up per member was lower in HMO versus PPO patients (unadjusted, $104.10 vs $128.10), translating to 12% lower annual spending (adjusted difference, –$16.26; P <.001).

Conclusions: Having HMO insurance was associated with lower rates of new specialist visits and lower spending on specialist visits, and these visits were less likely to occur across multiple health systems. The impact of this change on overall spending and clinical outcomes remains unknown.

Am J Manag Care. 2018;24(10):e312-e318

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