Category Archives: Electronic Health Records

Milliman RBRVS for Hospitals

The Milliman RBRVS for Hospitals™ Fee Schedule provides a simple solution for comparing hospital contractual allowed amounts, billed charge master levels, relative efficiency, and patient mix differences. The fee schedule is based on Relative Value Units (RVUs). There are several advantages of RBRVS for Hospitals. For example, RVUs have been developed for all hospital services, so they reflect the relative resources required to perform the care. Also, a single conversion factor can be used to benchmark a hospital contract. Milliman actuaries provide some perspective in this paper.

Cascade Health Alliance chooses Milliman PRM Analytics for population risk management

Milliman PRM Analytics™ (PRM), a leader in data-driven value-based healthcare support systems, today announced that Cascade Health Alliance (CHA), a coordinated care organization (CCO) serving Klamath County, Oregon, has selected the PRM Platform and its suite of cloud-based analytic and population risk management solutions to support their growing clinical integration initiatives.

“By giving us greater ability to better manage our population health, the PRM tool allows for more efficient risk stratification and management,” said Peter Waziri, CHA’s Chief Financial Officer. “Working with Milliman and PRM Analytics will help CHA to better serve our members by allowing staff deeper insights to those members’ health information.”

“We are pleased to be selected by Cascade to help them manage their risk-based populations. Milliman continues to be the industry leader in helping providers manage population risk. PRM™ represents a disruptive approach to population stratification and management. The analysis focuses on the prospective opportunity for potentially avoidable costs so the patient care team can focus on them in advance. Care management can then be focused on the patients with the greatest potential to ‘bend the cost curve’ resulting in the optimal deployment of limited care management team resources,” said Art Wilmes, FSA, MAAA, a Principal and Consulting Actuary in Milliman’s Indianapolis office.

“I have access to new ways of seeing cross-sectional data and how it all works together,” said Angela Leach, CHA’s medical informatics analyst. “Case managers will use it to get at-a-glance profiles of patients they are caring for, and the quality management department can use it to find ‘hot spots’ that may benefit from additional programs.”

The case management team at CHA can use PRM Analytics in a variety of ways, according to Diane Barr, Director of Case Management. “We can identify high-cost members, plus we can filter for diagnosis and identify members for disease management,” Barr said. “We can also look at an individual member to determine their utilization, chronic conditions and other details. The best part is we can do risk stratification and identify members that are at the highest risk for re-hospitalization or emergency department utilization. The program is easy to use and provides us with volumes of useful information.”

Transition from RAPS to EDS data decreases Medicare Advantage risk scores

Milliman consultants Deana Bell, David Koenig, and Charlie Mills performed a study of how the transition from Risk Adjustment Processing System (RAPS) data to Encounter Data System (EDS) data is affecting payment year (PY) 2016 risk scores and revenue for Medicare Advantage organizations (MAOs). Fifteen MAOs participated in the study, reflecting a cross section of small- and medium-sized organizations and representing over 900,000 members in 154 plans. The consultants offer perspective in their article “Impact of the transition from RAPS to EDS on Medicare Advantage risk scores.”

Overall, the study found that the median percentage difference between PY 2016 risk scores based on RAPS and the EDS-based risk scores is 4.0%. The percentage difference is larger for special needs plans (SNPs) and smaller for general enrollment plans as shown in Figure 1. The prior year’s diagnoses make up a larger component of SNP members’ risk scores, compared to general enrollment plans, so the risk score impact for SNP plans is larger.

[The authors] have not attempted to quantify what portion of the difference between RAPS and EDS is due to incompleteness of the EDS submissions, issues with CMS’s return files (revised MAO-004 files), changes to filtering logic, and the effect of claims coding errors.

As an illustration, the potential Part C PY 2016 revenue using the median difference of -4% between RAPS and EDS results in a reduction of approximately $40 per member per year, assuming approximately $800 in Part C risk-adjusted revenue and a 1.0 RAPS-only risk score. To the extent that this -4% gap persists in future years, the revenue impact will grow because the EDS-based risk score will make up an increasing portion of the final risk score (e.g., with the 25% EDS weight in PY 2017, the per member reduction would be about $100 per year).

This article is the second in a series of articles on the transition to EDS. For more information about the EDS and RAPS data used in MA risk scores, read “Medicare Advantage and the Encounter Data Processing System: Be prepared.”

Benchmarking analytics for provider reimbursements

Managing provider reimbursement levels is an important function for health plans. Provider reimbursement analytics can offer health plans the foundation they need to effectively manage reimbursements.

In their article “Provider reimbursement analytics,” Milliman consultants David Lewis and Charlie Mills highlight the advantages and disadvantages of the two primary analytical approaches for evaluating provider reimbursement levels. The authors also discuss the pros and cons of the three main baseline fee schedules used in provider contract benchmarking, one of which includes Milliman GlobalRVUsTM.

Developing population health management programs under risk-based contracts

Risk-based contracts are driving the development of population health management programs (PHMPs) that are designed to achieve the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Triple Aim goals. Health systems may need to redesign how they deliver healthcare to meet these goals. Risk-based contracts often give providers both the financial flexibility and incentive to redesign care.

In the article “Population health management program development: The path to the Triple Aim,” Milliman’s Nick Creten and Blaine Miller discuss the following five steps healthcare organizations must address when developing a PHMP in a risk-based contracting environment.

Step 1: Assess population costs, utilization, and risk
Step 2: Identify opportunities
Step 3: Segmentation
Step 4: Intervention development
Step 5: Monitor, assess, and improve

Qualifying APM participant considerations

This paper by Milliman’s Charlie Mills, Pamela Pelizzari, and Christopher Kunkel explores the challenges and opportunities regarding participation in an Advanced Alternative Payment Model (APM) track under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). The authors also discuss why becoming Qualifying APM Participants (QPs) may be desirable to some providers as well as the risks they might encounter through the process.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

Opportunities associated with QP status

Financial opportunities

Despite the potential downsides to participating in Advanced APMs and seeing QP status, there are also potential financial benefits, including the following:

A lump-sum payment equal to 5% of their prior year’s payments for Part B covered professional services. QPs can become eligible for this lump-sum incentive payment for years 2019 through 2024. Overall, this is the primary financial opportunity for QPs.

Insulation from the potential downside of the MIPS adjustment. In general, MIPS is a budget-neutral (i.e., zero-sum) program, with a financial downside of 4% in 2019, growing to 9% in 2022. Because QPs and Partial QPs are excluded from MIPS, they are not exposed to MIPS’s downside and do not have to navigate the hundreds of quality and performance measures that make up MIPS.

Opportunities for shared savings from the Advanced APM. QPs will have the opportunity to share in gains (and will generally be required to share in losses) from the Advanced APMs they participate in.

Higher conversion factor increases starting in 2026. Starting in payment year 2026, QPs will receive a conversion factor increase of 0.75% compared with 0.25% for non-QPs. Over time, this could result in significantly higher payment rates for QPs versus non-QPs.

Clinical integration benefits

Several of the currently available Advanced APMs aim to align incentives across different types of providers. For example, ACOs encourage physicians and hospitals to work together to ensure beneficiaries receive appropriate care that can keep them healthy and out of hospitals. In many cases, however, individual physicians do not see the financial benefits of these programs without entering into what can be complex and time-consuming gainsharing arrangements. By providing a 5% lump-sum incentive payment to QPs, MACRA serves to create an even greater incentive for physicians to participate actively in Advanced APMs.

While other payer Advanced APMs do not contribute to QP threshold calculations until performance year 2019 (incentive payment year 2021), it’s possible that the increased engagement physicians have in Advanced APMs that is due to MACRA will have trickle-down effects on other lines of business and patient populations beyond Medicare fee-for-service. This could serve to improve the quality of care and reduce costs for patients covered by other payers.