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Intensive care management for high-risk veterans in a patient-centered medical home - do some veterans benefit more than others?

Swankoski KE, Reddy A, Grembowski D, Chang ET, Wong ES. Intensive care management for high-risk veterans in a patient-centered medical home - do some veterans benefit more than others? Healthcare (Amsterdam, Netherlands). 2023 Jun 1; 11(2):100677.

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Primary care intensive management programs utilize interdisciplinary care teams to comprehensively meet the complex care needs of patients at high risk for hospitalization. The mixed evidence on the effectiveness of these programs focuses on average treatment effects that may mask heterogeneous treatment effects (HTEs) among subgroups of patients. We test for HTEs by patients'' demographic, economic, and social characteristics. METHODS: Retrospective analysis of a VA randomized quality improvement trial. 3995 primary care patients at high risk for hospitalization were randomized to primary care intensive management (n  =  1761) or usual primary care (n  =  1731). We estimated HTEs on ED and hospital utilization one year after randomization using model-based recursive partitioning and a pre-versus post-with control group framework. Splitting variables included administratively collected demographic characteristics, travel distance, copay exemption, risk score for future hospitalizations, history of hospital discharge against medical advice, homelessness, and multiple residence ZIP codes. RESULTS: There were no average or heterogeneous treatment effects of intensive management one year after enrollment. The recursive partitioning algorithm identified variation in effects by risk score, homelessness, and whether the patient had multiple residences in a year. Within each distinct subgroup, the effect of intensive management was not statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS: Primary care intensive management did not affect acute care use of high-risk patients on average or differentially for patients defined by various demographic, economic, and social characteristics. IMPLICATIONS: Reducing acute care use for high-risk patients is complex, and more work is required to identify patients positioned to benefit from intensive management programs.





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