About 225 emergency medicine experts from Maryland and other parts of the country gathered in Baltimore on March 13 for Emergency Medicine Associates’ first value-based emergency medicine summit.
During the daylong event, which was co-hosted by the Maryland Healthcare Education Institute, attendees heard from national and EMA experts on topics such as navigating the new health care landscape; effective ED strategies to reduce avoidable hospital utilization and readmissions; costs to hospitals from variability in physician practices; aligning hospital and emergency physician incentives; and quantifying the impact of value-based emergency medicine strategies.
“The incentives in health care are shifting, and with respect to emergency medicine, the incentives are much different than just a few years ago,” said Donald S. Infeld, M.D., President of Emergency Medicine Associates. “Part of emergency medicine’s challenge for the future is to manage the continuum of care so appropriate patients are seen in the ED and patients requiring fewer resources can be seen in non ED settings. There is a need for emergency medicine to expand its scope beyond the ED to develop systems to properly and efficiently manage patients before (perhaps averting an unnecessary ED visit), during and after an emergency visit.”
A breakout session on innovative strategies to manage high utilizers of the ED highlighted opportunities to engage outside agencies in addressing these patients’ needs even outside of the ED visit, said J.J. Sverha, M.D., EMA’s Chief Value Officer.
While engaging case management “is a strategy that most ED’s are pursuing,” looking to partner with your local EMS agency or even a practice that perform home visits to patients is important, Dr. Sverha said. EMS agencies can develop care plans for specific patients that may prevent unnecessary transports to the ED. House calls to the elderly and infirm can reduce hospital admissions, hospital readmissions and ED visits.
The closing panel discussed Maryland’s all-payer hospital modernization system and what is means for the rest of America. For now, the system “is a Maryland experiment, but it is likely, in various forms, to be the basic model replicated in many other states in the future,” said Martin Brown, M.D., President of Alexandria-Springfield Emergency Physicians..
“We were instrumental in organizing a ground-breaking, timely conference on a very critical topic,” Dr. Brown said. “The audience came away with new appreciation for how incentives have changed regarding the ED and were provided with innovative strategies to adjust to those changes.”
Audience members said they were more aware of the variety of stakeholders should be engaged to drive value, Dr. Sverha said.
“There are a lot of innovative ideas being explored to drive value from the ED perspective,” he said, much in Maryland. “This conference allowed us to obtain the perspective of government leaders trying to define value, as well as academicians who are writing and publishing on this topic and those on the front lines who are translating these strategies into practice on a day-to-day basis.”