Patient-Reported Experiences of Dialysis Care Within a National Pay-for-Performance System. JAMA internal medicine Brady, B. M., Zhao, B., Niu, J., Winkelmayer, W. C., Milstein, A., Chertow, G. M., Erickson, K. F. 2018


Importance: Medicare's End-Stage Renal Disease Quality Incentive Program incorporates measures of perceived value into reimbursement calculations. In 2016, patient experience became a clinical measure in the Quality Incentive Program scoring system. Dialysis facility performance in patient experience measures has not been studied at the national level to date.Objective: To examine associations among dialysis facility performance with patient experience measures and patient, facility, and geographic characteristics.Design: In this cross-sectional analysis, patients from a national end-stage renal disease registry receiving in-center hemodialysis in the United States on December 31, 2014, were linked with dialysis facility scores on the In-Center Hemodialysis Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (ICH-CAHPS) survey. Of 4977 US dialysis facilities, 2939 (59.1%) reported ICH-CAHPS scores from April 8, 2015, through January 11, 2016. Multivariable linear regression models with geographic random effects were used to examine associations of facility ICH-CAHPS scores with patient, dialysis facility, and geographic characteristics and to identify the amount of total between-facility variation in patient experience scores explained by these categories. Data were analyzed from September 15, 2017, through June 1, 2018.Exposures: Dialysis facility, geographic characteristic, and 10% change in patient characteristics.Main Outcomes and Measures: Dialysis facility ICH-CAHPS scores and the total between-facility variation explained by different categories of characteristics.Results: Of the 2939 facilities included in the analysis, adjusted mean ICH-CAHPS scores were 2.6 percentage points (95% CI, 1.5-3.7) lower in for-profit facilities, 1.6 percentage points (95% CI, 0.9-2.2) lower in facilities owned by large dialysis organizations, and 2.3 percentage points (95% CI, 0.5-4.2) lower in free-standing facilities compared with their counterparts. More nurses per patient was associated with 0.2 percentage points (95% CI, 0.03-0.3) higher scores; a privately insured patient population was associated with 1.2 percentage points (95% CI, 0.2-2.2) higher scores. Facilities with higher proportions of black patients had 0.95 percentage points (95% CI, 0.78-1.12) lower scores; more Native American patients, 1.00 percentage point (95% CI, 0.39-1.60) lower facility scores. Geographic location and dialysis facility characteristics explained larger proportions of the overall between-facility variation in ICH-CAHPS scores than did patient characteristics.Conclusions and Relevance: This study suggests that for-profit operation, free-standing status, and large dialysis organization designation were associated with less favorable patient-reported experiences of care. Patient experience scores varied geographically, and black and Native American populations reported less favorable experiences. The study findings suggest that perceived quality of care delivered in these settings are of concern, and that there may be opportunities for improved implementation of patient experience surveys as is highlighted.

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