Association Between Extending CareFirst's Medical Home Program to Medicare Patients and Quality of Care, Utilization, and Spending
- In a difference-in-differences analysis with 52 intervention practices and matched comparison practices, the program was not associated with outcome improvements for Medicare patients.
- Hospitalizations declined by 10%, but this was matched by similar changes in the comparison group, suggesting that outside market factors drove the decline in the treatment group.
- The extension of CareFirst’s program to Medicare did not measurably improve quality-of-care processes or reduce service use or spending for Medicare patients.
- Further program refinement and testing are needed to support scaling the program more broadly to Medicare patients.
CareFirst, the largest commercial insurer in the mid-Atlantic Region of the United States, runs a medical home program focusing on financial incentives for primary care practices and care coordination for high-risk patients. From 2013 to 2015, CareFirst extended the program to Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) beneficiaries in participating practices. If the model extension improved quality while reducing spending, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services could expand the program to Medicare beneficiaries broadly.