Medicare House Calls Save $25M In Three Years
A program, Medicare's Independent at Home demonstration project, served more than 8,000 seniors with multiple chronic conditions -- often the most expensive patients. Elsewhere, an expert says Medicare preventive care could be more useful for people when they're 50 than when they're 65.
The Associated Press:
Medicare Project: House Calls For Frail Seniors Cut Costs
The humble house call is being put to the test to see if it can improve care and cut costs for some of Medicare's frailest patients — and new data suggests it can work. Medicare announced Thursday that it saved more than $25 million in the first year of a three-year study to determine the value of home-based primary care for frail seniors with multiple chronic illnesses, by avoiding pricier hospital or emergency room care. Dr. Patrick Conway, Medicare's chief medical officer, says the house call delivers "high-touch" coordinated care that allows doctors and nurses to spot brewing problems in a patient's everyday environment before he or she worsens. (Neergaard, 6/18)
Medicare Coverage Could Be Even More Useful At Age 50
Americans are living longer, so why not lower the eligibility age for Medicare? That prescription might sound upside down: rising longevity often is used as an argument for delaying Medicare eligibility past age 65. However, one of the country's top experts on geriatric medicine actually thinks Medicare should start covering preventive healthcare when we turn 50. Dr. Linda Fried, dean of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York, says that could help people not just live longer, but enjoy more healthy years. Meanwhile, Medicare would save money on treatment of chronic illnesses in seniors. (Miller, 6/18)