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Attempting to Define Clinical Productivity Metrics among Pediatric Palliative Care Services at Academic Children’s Hospitals

Journal title
Journal of palliative medicine
Publication year
2019
Author(s)
Mahoney, D. P.; Brook, I.; Fossa, M.; Kang, T.

Introduction: Pediatric palliative care (PPC) programs have grown in size and number at academic children’s hospitals in the United States for the past 20 years. Little is known about the relationships between program workforce staffing, billing and coding practices, clinical service requirements for billing providers, and sustainability of program models for billing providers. Methods: The authors contacted a convenience sample of 10 PPC program leaders at academic children’s hospitals in the United States. Program leaders were asked to provide information about billing provider full-time equivalent (FTE) staffing, billing and coding practices, and productivity metrics for a three-month period, from January 1 to March 31, 2017. Results: Ten programs participated in the convenience sample survey, and seven provided information about billing and coding practices. For the seven programs that provided evaluation and management data, calculated estimate of mean work Relative Value Unit (wRVU) production per 1.0 FTE per year was 1626. Calculated estimate of consultations per 1.0 FTE per month was 15. Calculated estimate of total clinical encounters per 1.0 FTE per month was 70. Conclusions: The relationships between PPC billing provider productivity and clinical workload are complex and vary widely among a convenience sample of academic PPC programs. Given the high burnout rates in the field, efforts should be made to more clearly define these relationships to promote sustainability of both billing and nonbilling PPC providers.

Research abstracts