« The Dual Agenda: August 20, 2014 Issue

Noteworthy News

New Medicare Policy Will Pay Docs to Coordinate Care

In a new policy change announced by the Obama administration and reported in the New York Times, Medicare will begin paying doctors and certain other providers a set monthly fee to provide care management services to Medicare beneficiaries with two or more chronic conditions. In addition to doctors, the new care management services can be paid for when provided by nurse practitioners, physician assistants and certain other health professionals. According to the article, two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries have at least two chronic conditions, and they account for 93 percent of Medicare spending. Providing care for patients with multiple chronic conditions is time consuming and involves many different providers and services, which can lead to errors, if not well coordinated. With this new initiative, doctors have an incentive: they will be paid the monthly amount to develop and oversee a comprehensive care plan, manage medications, monitor care being provided by other doctors, and ensure smooth transitions from one care setting to another. Experience in existing managed care programs has shown that sustained care coordination proves to be more cost effective and can lead to better health outcomes for patients, especially those with multiple chronic conditions. 

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