« The Dual Agenda: May 28, 2014 Issue

Noteworthy News

Engaging Providers To Support Integrated Care for Dual Eligibles

As the dual-eligible demonstrations ramp up across the country, advocates, health plans and policymakers are recognizing the importance of engaging providers in the demonstrations to successfully achieve integrated care for dual eligibles. The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) reports on key lessons learned over the last year by Independent Care Health Plan (iCare). Key lessons include building relationships with providers, leveraging integrated care to improve quality, giving providers the tools they need to explain integrated care to patients, and extending the reach of providers. iCare is one of seven health plans participating in PRIDE (PRomoting Integrated Care for Dual Eligibles), a consortium working to identify and test innovative strategies that enhance and integrate care for dual eligible beneficiaries.

Senate Finance Committee Conducts Hearing on Improving Care for Medicare Patients with Chronic Conditions

On May 14, the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing on improving care for Medicare patients with chronic conditions and heard testimony from Dr. Patrick Conway, Acting Principal Deputy Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and Dr. Mark Miller, Executive Director of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC).  Dr. Conway’s testimony focused on the recently-announced Department of Health and Human Services goal to tie most Medicare payments to quality by 2018 and on supporting care management in fee-for-service medicine. In addition, Dr. Conway discussed various delivery system reform demonstrations presently underway across the country, including the dual-eligible demonstrations. In his testimony, Dr. Miller outlined MedPAC’s recommendations for promoting chronic care coordination in fee-for-service payment models, and discussed improvements to Medicare Advantage and Accountable Care Organizations that would increase the ability of these models to care appropriately for beneficiaries with chronic conditions.

Building the Workforce Needed to Care for an Aging Population

A blog post on GeriPal proposes the need for a National Geriatric and Palliative Service Corps to adequately prepare physicians to care for an aging population. The post notes that the United States loses five geriatricians each week even as 10,000 Americans enroll in Medicare daily. It suggests a series of student loan forgiveness programs to incentivize residents and clinicians to pursue training in geriatrics and palliative care.

CMS Releases Proposed Medicaid Managed Care Rule

On May 26, the CMS released its proposed rule to strengthen managed care for Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollees. This proposed rule is the first major update to Medicaid and CHIP managed care regulations in more than a decade. It would improve beneficiary communications and access, provide new program integrity tools, support state efforts to deliver higher quality care in a cost-effective way, and better align Medicaid and CHIP managed care rules and practices with other sources of health insurance coverage. Comments on the proposed rule are due by July 27.

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