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Yoon J, Leung LB, Rubenstein LV, Nelson K, Rose DE, Chow A, Stockdale SE. Greater patient-centered medical home implementation was associated with lower attrition from VHA primary care. Healthcare (Amsterdam, Netherlands). 2020 Jun 1; 8(2):100429.
BACKGROUND: Patient-centered medical home models such as the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) model aim to improve primary care through accessible, comprehensive, continuous team-based care. Practices that adhere to patient-centered medical home principles have been found to exhibit higher patient satisfaction, possibly leading to higher retention of patients longitudinally and reducing attrition from care. We examined whether greater PACT implementation was related to lower attrition from VHA primary care. METHODS: A national cohort of 1.5 million nonelderly patients with chronic conditions and using VHA primary care in the baseline year (fiscal year 2015) was identified. Attrition was measured as not receiving primary care over two subsequent years. PACT implementation in 863 VHA primary care practices was measured by the PACT Implementation Progress Index (Pi2) across 8 domains. RESULTS: Overall, the attrition rate was 4.4%. Predicted attrition was highest for patients treated in practices with the lowest PACT implementation scores (4.8%) compared to 4.0% among patients in practices with the highest PACT implementation scores (difference = -0.8 (95% CI: -1.3, -0.2)). Better performance on most PACT domains was significantly associated with lower attrition. CONCLUSIONS: Primary care practices that facilitate easier access to providers as well as provide more seamless care coordination, better communication with providers, and support for self-management appear to positively affect patients' decisions to stay in VHA care. IMPLICATIONS: Provision of accessible, comprehensive, team-based primary care, as measured in this study, is likely to be a determinant of patient retention in VHA care. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 3.