Health care industry warming to role of keeping you healthy

Kaiser Health News reports from the Associated Press, that big players in the health industry are seeing the cost benefits of nabbing problems before they start.  That hot lunch delivered to your door? Your health insurer might pick up the tab. The cleaning crew that fixed up your apartment while you recovered from a stroke? The hospital staff helped set that up.

Some insurers are paying for rides to fitness centers and checking in with customers to help ward off loneliness. Hospital networks are hiring more workers to visit people at home and learn about their lives, not just their illnesses.

The health care system is becoming more focused on keeping patients healthy instead of waiting to treat them once they become sick or wind up in the hospital. This isn’t a new concept, but it’s growing. Insurers are expanding what they pay for to confront rising costs, realizing that a person’s health depends mostly on what happens outside a doctor’s visit.

Read More

CMS announces new Primary Care delivery model

Public and private payers can apply through June 1 to participate in a new medical home model that will build on the Comprehensive Primary Care model to help practices support patients with serious or chronic diseases, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced today. 

Under the CPC+ model, CMS will partner with insurers and Medicaid agencies in up to 20 regions and up to 5,000 practices to provide monthly care management fees based on beneficiary risk tiers.  The model can accommodate up to 5,000 practices, 20,000 doctors and the 25 million people they serve.

Read More

U.S. Adults with chronic conditions more likely to forego care than those in other high-income nations

Adults living with chronic health problems who live in the U.S. are more likely to forego care than those with chronic health problems living in other high-income nations, according to a report by the Commonwealth Fund.
Read More

Medicare to Participate in State Multi-payer Health Reform Efforts to Improve Quality and Lower Costs

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) invited states to apply for participation in the Multi-payer Advanced Primary Care Practice Demonstration, an initiative in which Medicare will join Medicaid and private insurers to assess the ability of patient-centered "medical homes" to improve the delivery of primary care and lower health care costs.
Read More

HHS announces ARRA grants for prevention, wellness

The Department of Health and Human Services will award $120 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to states and territories for prevention and wellness programs. The application deadline is Nov. 24.  The funding is part of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative. 

Read More

Medicare announces reforms for ‘medical home’ pilot programs

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, along with Vermont Governor Jim Douglas and Director of the White House Office of Health Reform Nancy-Ann DeParle today announced an initiative that will allow Medicare to join Medicaid, and private insurers in state-based efforts to improve the way health care is delivered. 

Read More

Evidence suggests medical home may improve quality and reduce costs

The medical home is by now widely recognized as a promising approach to delivering comprehensive care and ensuring the best outcomes for patients. Physician practices and clinics that provide a "patient-centered" medical home deliver primary care that includes around-the-clock access to primary and specialty care, as well as physician and patient access to electronic health records.

Read More

Large Physician Groups Score Low On Key Measures Of “Medical Home” Approach To Care

Bethesda, MD -- Nearly everybody agrees that the U.S. health care delivery system is broken --  but there’s no clear consensus on how to fix it. One leading alternative is the “patient-centered medical home,” designed to put primary care doctors in charge of coordinating care. But despite the growing promise that this health care model offers, even many large physician practices lack the essential elements to create a medical home for patients to receive care, according to a new study published today in the journal Health Affairs When researchers examined large medical groups with at least 20 physicians, they found that these physician practices are lagging on key measures of what it takes to create a “medical home,” a model of health care delivery that emphasizes comprehensive primary care to ensure the best outcomes for patients. The medical home model is now widely recognized by health care providers, large employers such as IBM, and increasingly patients as a promising blueprint for delivering comprehensive care over a patient’s lifespan.

Read More

Micropractices explored to better serve patients

According to an August 26, 2008 article in the Washington Post, some physicians are revisiting the concept of a ‘micropractice’, a method of creating low overhead high tech medical practices to improve interaction with patients.  Physicians are encouraged to create such models by health care reform experts who are looking to create medical homes and improve chronic disease management.  By reinventing their clinical practice, physicians are finding more effective and more fulfilling ways to practice medicine, according to the Post.

Read More

Commonwealth Fund highlights the State Quality Improvement Institute

In a recent newsletter the Commonwealth Fund highlights the State Quality Improvement Institute (SQII), launched in April 2008, is intended to help states plan and implement concrete efforts to improve health system performance and to share best practices among states. It is sponsored by The Commonwealth Fund and led by AcademyHealth. SQII leaders are hoping to address the wide variability in quality and value across the United States, evidenced in the Fund's State Scorecard on Health System Performance.

Read More