Medicare reimbursement policy encourages frequent provider visits to patients with ESRD undergoing hemodialysis. This study sought to determine whether more frequent face-to-face provider (physician and advanced practitioner) visits lead to more procedures and therapeutic interventions aimed at preserving arteriovenous fistulas and grafts, improved vascular access outcomes, and fewer related hospitalizations.Multivariable regression was used to evaluate the association between provider (physician and advanced practitioner) visit frequency and interventions aimed at preserving vascular access, vascular access survival, hospitalization for vascular access infection, and outpatient antibiotic use in a cohort of 63,488 Medicare beneficiaries receiving hemodialysis in the United States. Medicare claims were used to identify the type of vascular access used, access-related events, and vascular access failure.One additional provider (physician and advanced practitioner) visit per month was associated with a 13% higher odds of receiving an intervention to preserve vascular access (95% confidence interval [95% CI], 12% to 14%) but was not associated with vascular access survival (hazard ratio, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.99 to 1.03). One additional provider visit was associated with a 9% (95% CI, 5% to 14%) lower odds of hospitalization for vascular access infection and a corresponding 9% (95% CI, 5% to 14%) higher odds of outpatient intravenous antibiotic administration. However, the associated changes in absolute probabilities of hospitalization and antibiotic administration were small.More frequent face-to-face provider (physician and advanced practitioner) visits were associated with more procedures and therapeutic interventions aimed at preserving vascular accesses, but not with prolonged vascular access survival and only a small decrease in hospitalization for vascular access.
View details for DOI 10.2215/CJN.05540614
View details for PubMedID 25587105