« The Dual Agenda: September 3, 2015 Issue

Noteworthy News

PRIDE Initiative Identifies Key Areas of Concern for Improving Care for Dual Eligibles

For the last two years, the Commonwealth Fund and the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) have collaborated with a group of high-performing health plans from seven states (California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin) committed to integrating care for the dually eligible population. Working within CHCS’s Promoting Integrated Care for Dual Eligibles (PRIDE) initiative, the consortium of plans has identified five priority areas that need improvement:

Personal Experiences Demonstrate Need for More Geriatricians

An op-ed in the LA Times highlights the problems faced by frail older adults coping with multiple chronic conditions and a health care system that commits a large number of medical errors and does a poor job of coordinating care. The author particularly focuses on how valuable geriatricians can be in caring for frail elders, while simultaneously highlighting the serious shortage of these doctors. This shortage is likely to worsen in the coming years as the nation ages. Furthermore, financial incentives are misaligned, discouraging doctors-in-training from becoming geriatricians, as they earn less than any other medical specialty. Confronting this workforce challenge is one of the keys to transforming the American health care system to provide better care for vulnerable older adults.  

Health-Housing Connection Getting Increasing Attention

The National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) has produced several resources for states that are seeking to address the social and economic determinants of health by focusing on housing. As more and more state policymakers explore the connection between stable housing and improved health, some states are investigating the potential of supportive housing to reduce costs and improve the health of their homeless populations. States are leveraging a variety of funding streams to pay for housing services and supports, including federal health care reform initiatives, Medicaid waivers, and private investment. NASHP has developed a chart showing strategies states are using to address housing, and is also hosting a webinar on the topic in mid-September.

Funding Opportunity to Reduce Avoidable Hospitalizations

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced a new funding opportunity for reducing avoidable hospitalizations among nursing home residents. For the past three years, CMS has partnered with seven organizations across the country to implement evidence-based clinical and educational interventions that reduce avoidable hospitalizations. On August 27, CMS announced the launch of the second phase of this initiative. In this phase, currently participating organizations may apply for funding to test whether a new payment model for nursing facilities and practitioners, together with the current evidence-based clinical and educational interventions, will reduce avoidable hospitalizations, reduce combined Medicare and Medicaid spending, and improve the quality of care received by long-stay nursing facility residents. 

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