Last Wednesday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposed rule to implement key provisions of the Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act. Passed with bipartisan support in 2015, MACRA represents is an important opportunity to improve the quality of care delivered through Medicare. Given the number of people who are enrolled in Medicare and the number of providers who see Medicare patients, these changes will have a significant impact throughout the entire health care system.
Recent actions by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) represent an encouraging recognition–by one of the biggest payers of health care in the nation—that one-size-fits all payment reforms do not benefit everyone equally.
And they raise the question of whether some of these pay-for-performance programs should be adjusted to better address racial and ethnic health disparities.
By now the benefits of Medicaid expansion are well known. In addition to providing health coverage to millions of Americans, it has helped create new health care jobs, decrease hospitals’ spending on uncompensated care, and generate budget savings for states. But another benefit is often overlooked: Medicaid expansion can help improve the quality of health care and reduce costs throughout a state’s entire health care system, not just in Medicaid.
Black History Month inspires us to celebrate the rich history, achievements, and contributions of African Americans in our nation, as well as the hard work that remains to dismantle racism and achieve true racial equality. We agree with Dr. King that fighting injustice in health care is an urgent civil rights issue central to achieving our shared dream of peace, prosperity, and equality for our children. But it is clear that a focus on health care alone will not achieve health equity for African Americans.
A set of principles laying out Families USA’s vision for health system transformation that achieves the triple aim of better care, lower cost, and better health. Health care stakeholders can use these to inform policy decisions.
Families USA and the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) have produced a new series of consumer guides to help patients and clinicians focus on which tests or treatments to choose when several reasonable options exist.
In early January, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation announced its first program focused on addressing a patient’s social needs. This 5-year, $157 million pilot program, called Accountable Health Communities, will try to bridge the gap between clinical and social services, testing whether addressing these needs can improve health, lower costs, and improve quality for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.
Americans spend more money per capita on health care than any other country, yet there is little evidence to suggest that we get a higher quality of care for that extra money. Indeed, far too often, Americans receive substandard quality of care. So, what can we do about it? In order to improve health care, we need to be able to measure its effectiveness.
Measuring the quality of health care can improve care for consumers in five ways:
Almost everyone will be faced with the need to make a critical decision about treatment for a disease or medical condition at some point in our lives. If you’re diagnosed with diabetes or heart disease, for example, you’ll want to make sure that you get the best care possible. In that moment, many will ask: What’s the right treatment option for me?
The answer to that question may not be as simple as we might like or expect. Medical evidence is the foundation for determining what works and for whom in health care and informing decision making.