Children with medical complexity experience frequent interactions with the medical system and often receive care that is costly, duplicative, and inefficient. The growth of value-based contracting creates incentives for systems to improve their care. This project was designed to improve the health, health care value, and utilization for a population-based cohort of children with neurologic impairment and feeding tubes.
A freestanding children’s hospital and affiliated accountable care organization jointly developed a quality improvement initiative. Children with a percutaneous feeding tube, a neurologic diagnosis, and Medicaid, were targeted for intervention within a catchment area of >300 000 children receiving Medicaid. Initiatives included standardizing feeding tube management, improving family education, and implementing a care coordination program.
Between January 2011 and December 2014, there was an 18.0% decrease (P < .001) in admissions and a 31.9% decrease (P < .001) in the average length of stay for children in the cohort. Total inpatient charges were reduced by $11 764 856. There was an 8.2% increase (P < .001) in the percentage of children with weights between the fifth and 95th percentiles. The care coordination program enrolled 58.3% of the cohort.
This population-based initiative to improve the care of children with medical complexity showed promising results, including a reduction in charges while improving weight status and implementing a care coordination program. A concerted institutional initiative, in the context of an accountable care organization, can be part of the solution for improving outcomes and health care value for children with medical complexity.