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Financial Incentives to Increase Advance Care Planning Among Medicaid Beneficiaries: Lessons Learned From Two Pragmatic Randomized Trials

  • Author(s): Barnato, AE
  • Moore, R
  • Moore, CG
  • Kohatsu, ND
  • Sudore, RL
  • et al.
Abstract

Medicaid populations have low rates of advance care planning (ACP). Potential policy interventions include financial incentives.To test the effectiveness of patient plus provider financial incentive compared with provider financial incentive alone for increasing ACP discussions among Medicaid patients.Between April 2014 and July 2015, we conducted two sequential assessor-blinded pragmatic randomized trials in a health plan that pays primary care providers (PCPs) $100 to discuss ACP: 1) a parallel cluster trial (provider-delivered patient incentive) and 2) an individual-level trial (mail-delivered patient incentive). Control and intervention arms included encouragement to complete ACP, instructions for using an online ACP tool, and (in the intervention arm) $50 for completing the online ACP tool and a small probability of $1000 (i.e., lottery) for discussing ACP with their PCP. The primary outcome was provider-reported ACP discussion within three months.In the provider-delivered patient incentive study, 38 PCPs were randomized to the intervention (n = 18) or control (n = 20) and given 10 patient packets each to distribute. Using an intention-to-treat analysis, there were 27 of 180 ACP discussions (15%) in the intervention group and 5 of 200 (2.5%) in the control group (P = .0391). In the mail-delivered patient incentive study, there were 5 of 187 ACP discussions (2.7%) in the intervention group and 5 of 189 (2.6%) in the control group (P = .99).ACP rates were low despite an existing provider financial incentive. Adding a provider-delivered patient financial incentive, but not a mail-delivered patient incentive, modestly increased ACP discussions. PCP encouragement combined with a patient incentive may be more powerful than either encouragement or incentive alone.

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