Trying To Save Medicare: CMS Innovation Center Experiments With New Practices
The Associated Press examines the group of doctors, lawyers, health policy experts and career federal employees charged with coming up with ways to save money and improve care in Medicare. Meanwhile, news outlets report on other Medicare developments including bundled payments, hospice use and fraud.
The Associated Press:
'Innovation Center' Tries To Reinvent Medicare
They work for the government and even their closest relatives have no idea what they do. It's not because they're spies or nuclear scientists, but because their jobs are so arcane: trying to reinvent Medicare to improve it, and maybe save taxpayers money. In a sprawling, nondescript office park near Baltimore, some 360 people at the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation are trying to change the health care system, using the government's premier insurance program as leverage. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 4/18)
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
Can Fixed Payments Transform The Health Care Industry?
More than 1 million people, including more than 400,000 covered by Medicare, have surgery to replace a knee or hip each year. Medicare alone spent more than $7 billion just for hospital care in 2014, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. At the same time, the quality and total cost of surgery varies significantly, with the rate of complications at some hospitals more than three times higher than the best-performing hospitals and the total cost to Medicare ranging from $16,500 to $33,000. ... Meriter [hospital it Madison, Wis.], which does about 700 knee and hip replacements a year, lowered costs while improving the quality of care, based on metrics such as readmissions, infections, pain and movement. But it also had a strong incentive to provide better care: Complications meant the difference between making money and losing money. (Boulton, 4/16)
The Columbus Dispatch:
Blacks Less Likely Than Whites To Use Hospice Care
Studies show that nearly half of white Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in hospice before death, compared with only one-third of black patients. Among all U.S. patients who used hospice care in 2014, 7.6 percent were black; blacks are 13 percent of the population. (Pyle, 4/16)
Earlier KHN coverage: A Matter Of Faith And Trust: Why African-Americans Don’t Use Hospice (5/5/15)
Chicago Couple Accused Of $45M Medicare Fraud, Forced Labor
A Chicago couple accused of participating in a Medicare fraud scheme that swindled the government out of $45 million has also been charged with planning to force a Filipino woman to work as their nanny and housekeeper against her will. Richard Tinimbang, 38, and his wife, 40-year-old Maribel Tinimbang, both face one count of conspiracy to defraud Medicare, one count of money laundering conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to obtain forced labor, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office. (4/17)