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MP017: Impact of physician payment mechanism on wait times and ED length of stay

  • G. Innes (a1), J. Marsden (a1), D. Kalla (a1), R. Stenstrom (a1) and E. Grafstein (a1)...

Abstract

Introduction: Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) emergency physicians have been on contract based funding models for two decades. On October 1, 2015, physicians at one hospital (SPH) switched to fee-for-service (FFS) payments. Conventional wisdom is that FFS physicians are motivated to see more patients quickly and achieve higher throughput. Our hypothesis was that FFS payment would reduce patient wait times. Methods: This interrupted time series analysis with concurrent control was performed in VCH Region, where there are two tertiary EDs. During the 20-week study period (July 15-Nov 30), VGH remained on contract, while SPH converted to FFS (the intervention). VCH administrative data was aggregated by week. Our primary outcome was median wait time to MD. Secondary outcomes were ED LOS and left-without-being-seen (LWBS) rates. Results: Interrupted time series plots will be presented for the data. Data from 67,214 ED visits were analyzed (31,733 SPH, 35,481 VGH). Figure 1 shows that baseline wait time was 74 minutes at the control and 53 minutes at the intervention site. During the pre-intervention period, there was a non-significant downward trend of 0.4 minutes per week at the intervention hospital relative to control (p=0.26). After FFS conversion, there was a 4.1 minute increase in wait time at the control site (p=0.18), and a significant downward trend of 1.4 minutes per week (p=0.001). After FFS conversion, wait times at the intervention site increased by 4.8 minutes more than control (p-value for the difference=0.27), and the wait time trend increased significantly by 1.3 minutes per week relative to the expected counterfactual trend (p=0.02). Baseline EDLOS for discharged patients was 227 minutes at the control hospital and 193 minutes at the intervention site. There were similar pre-intervention LOS increases at both hospitals. Post-intervention, both sites saw significant increases in EDLOS, followed by a similar downward trends of -2.68 minutes per week (p=0.001). Baseline LWBS rate was 3.86% at the control hospital and 3.56% at the intervention site. Pre-intervention trends, and post-intervention level/trend changes did not differ by site. Conclusion: Conversion to FFS payment was associated with an increase in wait time trend of 1.3 minutes per week relative to control. There were no significant changes in EDLOS or LWBS rates. In this preliminary analysis, FFS payment had little effect on wait times or patient throughput.

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MP017: Impact of physician payment mechanism on wait times and ED length of stay

  • G. Innes (a1), J. Marsden (a1), D. Kalla (a1), R. Stenstrom (a1) and E. Grafstein (a1)...

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