Association Of A Regional Health Improvement Collaborative With Ambulatory CareSensitive Hospitalizations
Author: Joseph Tanenbaum, Randall D. Cebul, Mark Votruba, Douglas Einstadter
Although regional health improvement collaboratives have been adopted nationwide to improve primary care quality, their effects on avoidable hospitalizations and costs remain unclear. We quantified the association of the Better Health Partnership, a primary care–led regional health improvement collaborative operating in Cuyahoga County, Ohio (Cleveland and surrounding suburbs), with hospitalization rates for ambulatory care–sensitive conditions. The partnership uses a positive deviance approach to identify, disseminate publicly, and accelerate adoption of best practices for care of patients with diabetes, heart failure, and hypertension. Using a difference-in-differences approach, we compared rates of hospitalizations for ambulatory care–sensitive conditions in six Ohio counties before (2003–08) and after (2009–14) the establishment of the partnership. Age- and sex-adjusted hospitalization rates for targeted ambulatory care–sensitive conditions in Cuyahoga County declined significantly more than the rates in the comparator counties in 2009–11 (106 fewer hospitalizations per 100,000 adult residents) and 2012–14 (91 fewer hospitalizations). We estimated that 5,746 hospitalizations for ambulatory care–sensitive conditions were averted in 2009–14, leading to cost savings of nearly $40 million.