Some ACOs Save Money By Adding Dentists
A handful of accountable care organizations are experimenting with dental care and find it reduces ER visits. Meanwhile, new rules allow ACO doctors to send patients directly to nursing homes and optometrists are pushing to be part of the joint ventures.
Adding Dentists To The Team: ACO Costs Go Down, Care Up
Accountable care organizations are turning to an often-overlooked part of the health care system to take a big bite out of their costs — by integrating dentists into their efforts to maintain the whole health of patients. This approach is starting to attract some attention, though supporters fear that outdated attitudes about dental care will keep it from catching on faster. (Mershon, 6/16)
CMS Eases Skilled-Nursing Rules For Some ACOs
New Medicare rules could decrease incentives for hospital overuse and curb visits to low-quality nursing homes. The same rules, however, could boost incentives for misuse of costly skilled-nursing care. Under new accountable care rules, the CMS included the option for doctors to send patients directly to nursing homes for skilled-nursing care. The option—which waives the required three-day hospital visit before Medicare will pay for skilled-nursing care—instead requires patients go to nursing homes with at least three stars on Medicare's five-star quality scale. (Evans, 6/16)
Optometrists Push For Bigger Role In Managing Chronic Conditions
Optometrists are working more closely with physicians and insurers to identify patients' chronic conditions and make sure those patients receive appropriate medical care. They want to demonstrate that they have the training and skills to do more than just fit people for glasses and contact lenses. The Charlotte, N.C.-based Carolinas HealthCare System is working with Vision Source, a Kingwood, Texas-based network of 3,800 independent optometrists, to boost its performance in serving diabetes patients and raise its diabetes-care quality score. (Robeznieks, 6/16)