The Michigan Value Collaborative

Helping Michigan hospitals achieve their best possible patient outcomes at the lowest reasonable cost

Category: Current events (page 1 of 11)

Unpacking Medicare’s MACRA Resource Use measure

Paige VonAchen

Paige is a MVC Research Intern and MD/PhD candidate at the University of Michigan Medical School

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization ACT (MACRA) Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) will begin payment adjustments beginning 2019, resulting in approximately $199 million in payment adjustments and $500 million in additional bonuses across physicians nationally each year. The program scores physicians based on their performance in four areas: quality, improvement activities, advancing care information and resource use. While the Resource Use category comprises 0% of the overall weighting in 2019 (based on performance year 2017), the weighting will rise to 10% in 2020 (based on performance year 2018), and then to 30% beginning 2021. Therefore, understanding how the new measure is determined and adapting accordingly will be critical to providers’ success under the new payment system.

So, what does Resource Use really mean? And how is it calculated?

First, let’s establish who is not being scored…clinicians participating in the Advanced Alternative Payment Models (AAPM) and clinicians that are non-patient-facing (e.g., pathologists and radiologists) will also not be scored (instead, the weights of the other categories will increase).

For those that are being scored, it’s important to know the three measures that comprise the Resource Use category:

  • Total per capita costs: this measure represents the total yearly costs (for Parts A and B) for all patients assigned to a physician, divided by the total number of patients assigned to that physician. Patients are attributed to the physician or physician group that delivers the plurality of “primary care services” (under Part B) to the beneficiary as compared to any other practice, and includes admissions due to COPD, CHF, CAD, and Diabetes Mellitus.
  • Medicare Spend per Beneficiary (MSPB): this is a measure of combined Part A and B spend incurred around a hospitalization beginning 3 days prior to admission through 30 days post-discharge. MSPB is attributed to the provider submitting the majority of Part B claims during the index hospitalization. The total cost of care for such an episode is attributed to the physician or physician group that spends the most time with the patient during the initial admission.
  • Condition- and Episode-Based Measures: this measure looks at episodes of care triggered by a specific diagnosis of procedure. Many episodes are surgical (e.g., hip or knee replacement); however, there are medical as well (e.g., CHF, and COPD exacerbation). Any physician that provides over 30% of inpatient E&M codes during the index event (inpatient stay) will have the Part A & B costs of that episode attributed to them. This is currently reported in today’s Quality and Resource Use Report (QRUR); however, now it impacts reimbursement.

Needless to say, the Resource Use category of MACRA is complex and the implications for individual physicians depend on their type of practice and compilation of patients. Understanding and monitoring the payment and utilization of your own services will help you identify the most efficient services and allow you to adapt to MACRA’s new payment system.

Read more about MACRA at:


Using Smartphone Apps for Health Care Transportation

Deby Evans

Deb Evans is the Site Engagement Manager for MVC.

In a recent article, ( a growing number of patients have started to use Uber and Lyft to get to emergency rooms. Patients cited the cost savings and ability to choose where to receive care as reasons to use these apps as alternatives to an ambulance.  One potential risk with patients choosing where to receive care is that the preferred hospital may not be equipped to treat the emergency condition.  As a result, an ambulance is necessary to safely transport the patient to a more appropriate facility and the app is not the more cost-effective alternative.  Despite this limitation, there may be value in using ride share applications including extending the use to care for non-emergent patients.

Costs associated with missed healthcare appointments can be high for healthcare centers and hospitals. During the CHF peer-to-peer workgroups, one root cause for readmissions is lack of transportation.  As discussed in the toolkit, lack of transportation directly affects physician and clinic follow-up visits that could lead to an avoidable emergency room visit or readmission.  One participating hospital developed an initiative involving senior centers within the community to mitigate transportation issues for follow-up appointments.  If a partnering with community center is not an option in your area, utilizing ride share apps may be a less expensive alternative to help patients get to their physician appointments.  In a second article, hospitals have begun partnering with at least one of the apps and have found considerable benefits for their patients.

Have you thought about using a ride share app? What does your hospital do to help reduce the number of missed appointments?


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