Since many potential applicants are now figuring out how to use the financial template for Community-Based Care Transitions Program (CCTP) funding (as mentioned in our previous blog at: http://medicaring.org/2011/07/08/community-based-care-transitions-program-%e2%80%93-section-3026-funding/), here are some suggestions on mapping out a successful care transition model utilizing blended rate. First, realize that all payments are to the Community-Based Organization, and must be paid “per eligible beneficiary.” Second, the worksheet provided by CMS must be used to convey the proposed blended rate (the worksheet can be found at: http://www.cms.gov/DemoProjectsEvalRpts/downloads/CCTP_ApplicationBudgetWorksheet.zip). You’ll need to have enough experience in providing care transition services to estimate your population and costs in order to be successful in getting the funding.
Some applicants might want to focus on a particular illness or transition type (e.g., to Skilled Nursing Facilities), but we would encourage you to consider taking all Medicare fee-for-service discharges, but then using a stratified model to deliver services and estimate financials. Using just one intervention on all patients (e.g., the Care Transitions Intervention at Dr. Coleman’s site at: http://www.caretransitions.org) will meet the terms of the solicitation. However, a more sustainable model seems to have you divide the target population into three groups: low-complexity transitions, medium-complexity transitions and high-complexity transitions. Then, estimate the N, the acceptance rate, and the total costs for each of the three populations over a year. Remember that CMS has said that initial training of staff and trips to meetings in Baltimore are not included in the budget (they must be covered from other funds or from indirects).
If a community finds it appealing to stratify as we suggest, then the blended rate is set by the number of people in the population segment, the likely complete refusal rate, and the costs of serving this population. In order to be effective, you will want to drive down the refusal rate wherever possible, and again, experience will be helpful.
One possibility for increasing patient compliance is by creating a patient-centered and patient-friendly intervention by improving cultural competency of all staff workers. Getting endorsement of relevant community leaders could also help mitigate refusal rate. We also recommend incorporating maximum family input to optimize care transitions, and thereby, reducing not only avoidable hospital readmissions but also generating Medicare savings.
This piece was written in collaboration with Dr. Joanne Lynn.
We are very interested in your experience and thoughts – and in some real examples to share. Please respond to this blog, or send along info to [email protected].
Key words: care transitions, blended rate, Medicare savings, 3026, Coleman model, hospital readmissions