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Am J Manag Care. 2018 Sep 1;24(9):e270-e277.

Early experiences with the Acute Community Care Program in eastern Massachusetts.

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Mongan Institute Health Policy Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, 100 Cambridge St, Ste 1600, Boston, MA 02114. Email:



Emergency departments (EDs) frequently provide care for nonemergent health conditions outside of usual physician office hours. A nonprofit, fully integrated health insurer/care delivery system that enrolls socioeconomically disadvantaged adults with complex health needs partnered with an ambulance service provider to offer after-hours urgent care by specially trained and equipped paramedics in patients' residences. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health gave this initiative, the Acute Community Care Program (ACCP), a Special Project Waiver. We report results from its first 2 years of operation.


This was an observational study.


We used descriptive methods to analyze administrative claims, financial and enrollment records from the health insurer, information from service logs submitted by ACCP paramedics, and self-reported patient perceptions from telephone surveys of ACCP recipients.


ACCP averaged only about 1 call per day in its first year, growing to about 2 visits daily in year 2. About 15% to 20% of ACCP patients ultimately were transported to EDs and between 7.2% and 17.1% were hospitalized within 1 day of their ACCP visits. No unexpected deaths occurred within 72 hours of ACCP visits. Paramedics stayed on scene approximately 80 minutes on average. About 70% of patients thought that ACCP spared them an ED visit; 90% or more were willing to receive future ACCP care. Average costs per ACCP visit fell from $844 in year 1 to $537 in year 2 as volumes increased.


This study using observational data provides preliminary evidence suggesting that ACCP might offer an alternative to EDs for after-hours urgent care. More rigorous evaluation is required to assess ACCP's effectiveness.

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