Concept Advances For More Accountable Care To Elderly Patients
The Chicago Tribune reports on how the health law - via Medicare - is pushing accountable care organizations, a new model that emphasizes coordination. And, the Minneapolis Star Tribune details some of the hesitancy that seems to surround the health law's wellness screenings.
Chicago Tribune: Medicare Paving Way To Health Care Accountability
Encouraged by the health care overhaul, medical providers are slowly moving toward a new model of delivering care designed to hold doctors and hospitals more accountable for performance. Under so-called accountable care organizations, health care providers are working to better coordinate the treatment of elderly patients insured by Medicare. Some of the ideas include more electronic record keeping and specialized case managers to keep closer tabs on patients (Japsen, 7/3).
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Preventive Care Or A Waste Of Time For Docs, Patients?
The wellness screenings emerged as one of the signature benefits of the big federal health overhaul that Congress passed last year - an effort to catch problems early, keep patients healthier and cut future Medicare costs. Some doctors, however, are having second thoughts. To get paid by Medicare, a physician and nurse must complete 15 steps during a 30- to 45-minute exam, including brief screenings for dementia and depression, an eye exam, a medical history and personalized health advice. They must also check weight, height and blood pressure - the only time the patient must be touched. Although much touted in letters to the 46 million aged or disabled people on Medicare, the wellness visits haven't caught fire with patients either. Since Jan. 1, about 780,000 patients have received the new service, Medicare officials say. Last month, federal officials announced a nationwide campaign among doctors, patients and families of those on Medicare to increase awareness of the benefits under the new law. In addition to the free preventive visits, they include some free cancer screenings, immunizations and other tests and counseling (Wolfe, 7/3).