Advancing Value-Based Models for Heart Failure
A Call to Action From the Value in Health Care Initiative’s Value-Based Models Learning Collaborative
Heart failure (HF) is a leading cause of hospitalizations and readmissions in the United States. Particularly among the elderly, its prevalence and costs continue to rise, making it a significant population health issue. Despite tremendous progress in improving HF care and examples of innovation in care redesign, the quality of HF care varies greatly across the country. One major challenge underpinning these issues is the current payment system, which is largely based on fee-for-service reimbursement, leads to uncoordinated, fragmented, and low-quality HF care. While the payment landscape is changing, with an increasing proportion of all healthcare dollars flowing through value-based payment models, no longitudinal models currently focus on chronic HF care. Episode-based payment models for HF hospitalization have yielded limited success and have little ability to prevent early chronic disease from progressing to later stages. The available literature suggests that primary care-based longitudinal payment models have indirectly improved HF care quality and cardiovascular care costs, but these models are not focused on addressing patients’ longitudinal chronic disease needs. This article describes the efforts and vision of the multi-stakeholder Value-Based Models Learning Collaborative of The Value in Healthcare Initiative, a collaboration of the American Heart Association and the Robert J. Margolis, MD, Center for Health Policy at Duke University. The Learning Collaborative developed a framework for a HF value-based payment model with a longitudinal focus on disease management (to reduce adverse clinical outcomes and disease progression among patients with stage C HF) and prevention (an optional track to prevent high-risk stage B pre-HF from progressing to stage C). The model is designed to be compatible with prevalent payment models and reforms being implemented today. Barriers to success and strategies for implementation to aid payers, regulators, clinicians, and others in developing a pilot are discussed.