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Comparative effectiveness of a complex care program for high-cost/high-need Patients: A retrospective cohort study

D.W. Roblin, J.E. Segel, R.J. McCarthy, & N. Mendiratta
J Gen Intern Med

Background: High-cost/high-need (HCHN) adults and the healthcare systems that provide their care may benefit from a new patient-centered model of care involving a dedicated physician and nurse team who coordinate both clinical and social services for a small patient panel. Objective: Evaluate the impact of a Complex Care Program (CCP) on likelihood of patient survival and hospital admission in 180 days following empanelment to the CCP. Design: Retrospective cohort study using a quasi-experimental design with CCP patients propensity score matched to a concurrent control group of eligible but unempaneled patients. Setting: Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic States (KPMAS) during 2017–2018. Participants: Nine hundred twenty-nine CCP patients empaneled January 2017–June 2018, 929 matched control patients for the same period. Interventions: The KPMAS CCP is a new program consisting of 8 teams each staffed by a physician and nurse who coordinate care across a continuum of specialty care, tertiary care, and community services for a panel of 200 patients with advanced clinical disease and recent hospitalizations. Main Outcomes: Time to death and time to first hospital admission in the 180 days following empanelment or eligibility. Results: Compared to matched control patients, CCP patients had prolonged time to death (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.577, 95% CI: 0.474, 0.704), and CCP decedents had longer survival (median days 69.5 vs. 53.0, p=0.03). CCP patients had similar time to hospital admission (HR: 1.081, 95% CI: 0.930, 1.258), with similar results when adjusting for competing risk of death (HR: 1.062, 95% CI: 0.914, 1.084). Limitations: Non-randomized intervention; single healthcare system; patient eligibility limited to specific conditions. Conclusion: The KPMAS CCP was associated with significantly reduced short-term mortality risk for eligible patients who volunteered to participate in this intervention.

Roblin DW, Segel JE, McCarthy RJ, Mendiratta N. Comparative effectiveness of a complex care program for high-cost/high-need Patients: a retrospective cohort study. J Gen Intern Med. 2021 Mar 19. doi: 10.1007/s11606-021-06676-x. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33742306.


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Publication year
Resource type
Peer Reviewed Research
Study design
Pre-post with Comparison Group
Other Study Design