An important, yet often overlooked aspect of comprehensive health care for a “graying” U.S. population is dental health. In a new commentary, Tim Wang, Mark Wolff, and Neeraj Panchal bring attention to the oral health needs of a growing geriatric population in the U.S., and suggest practical ways to prepare providers to meet the challenge of treating this unique group.
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]bout 5.5 million older adults are living with dementia, a chronic, progressive disease characterized by severe cognitive decline. This number will likely grow significantly as the U.S. population ages, which has cost implications for the Medicare program. A full accounting of these additional expenses will help policymakers plan for them in their Medicare budgets. In this study, Norma Coe and colleagues examined survival and Medicare expenditures in older adults with and without dementia to estimate dementia’s incremental costs to Medicare in the five years after diagnosis.
At first glance, it appears that the new Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Innovation for Care and Payment shares much in common with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). Both are charged with implementing payment and care models that address rising costs, while maintaining or improving quality of care.
The world of health care is divided into many areas of specialization. At one point or another, we may have seen a podiatrist for a foot problem or a dermatologist for skin issues. Not all of us realize that – in addition to specializing in, say, the lungs – clinicians can devote their practice to providing general care to patients in a specific setting. For example, some physicians, called ‘hospitalists,’ see all or most of their patients in a hospital environment.
In this study of postacute care, more than 10% of Medicare skilled nursing facility (SNF) stays included no visit from
a physician or advanced practitioner. Of stays with visits, about half of initial assessments occurred within a day of
admission, and nearly 80% occurred within four days. Patients who did not receive a visit from a physician or advanced
practitioner were nearly twice as likely to be readmitted to a hospital (28%) or to die (14%) within 30 days of SNF
admission than patients who had an initial visit.
Patient Outcomes After Hospital Discharge to Home with Home Health Care vs to a Skilled Nursing Facility
In this study of more than 17 million Medicare hospitalizations between 2010 and 2016, patients discharged to home
health care had a 5.6 percent higher 30-day readmission rate than similar patients discharged to a skilled nursing facility
(SNF). There was no difference in mortality or functional outcomes between the two groups, but home health care was
associated with an average savings of $4,514 in total Medicare payments in the 60 days after the first hospital admission.
Health system reforms, such as value-based payment, can worsen or improve existing health care disparities, even if policy changes do not target the disparities themselves.
Changes to Racial Disparities in Readmission Rates After Medicare’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program Within Safety-Net and Non-Safety-Net Hospitals
After the Medicare Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program began enforcing financial penalties, disparities in readmissions between white and black patients widened at safety-net hospitals for conditions not targeted by the program. Disparities were stable for conditions targeted by the program. At non-safety-net hospitals, disparities were unchanged for both targeted and non-targeted conditions.
Joshua M. Liao and Amol S.
Joshua M. Liao and Amol S.
Joshua M. Liao, Anders Chen, and Amol S.