Gregory Pope, John Kautter, Musetta Leung, Michael Trisolini, Walter Adamache, and Kevin Smith
Objective: To examine the impact of the Medicare Physician Group Practice (PGP) demonstration on expenditure, utilization, and quality outcomes. Data Source: Secondary data analysis of 2001–2010 Medicare claims for 1,776,387 person years assigned to the ten participating provider organizations and 1,579,080 person years in the corresponding local comparison groups. Study Design: We used a pre-post comparison group observational design consisting of four pre-demonstration years (1/01–12/04) and five demonstration years (4/05–3/10). We employed a propensity-weighted difference-in-differences regression model to estimate demonstration effects, adjusting for demographics, health status, geographic area, and secular trends. Principal Findings: The ten demonstration sites combined saved $171 (2.0%) per assigned beneficiary person year (p<0.001) during the five-year demonstration period. Medicare paid performance bonuses to the participating PGPs that averaged $102 per person year. The net savings to the Medicare program were $69 (0.8%) per person year. Demonstration savings were achieved primarily from the inpatient setting. The demonstration improved quality of care as measured by six of seven claims-based process quality indicators. Conclusions: The PGP demonstration, which used a payment model similar to the Medicare Accountable Care Organization (ACO) program, resulted in small reductions in Medicare expenditures and inpatient utilization, and improvements in process quality indicators. Judging from this demonstration experience, it is unlikely that Medicare ACOs will initially achieve large savings. Nevertheless, ACOs paid through shared savings may be an important first step toward greater efficiency and quality in the Medicare fee-for-service program.
Keywords: Medicare Physician Group Practice demonstration, accountable care organization, shared savings, cost efficiency, quality of care