[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.
ABSTRACT [FROM JOURNAL]
We provide empirical evidence on the relative importance of specific observable factors that can explain why individuals enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid (duals) are concentrated in lower quality nursing homes, relative to those not on Medicaid. Descriptive results show that duals are 9.7 percentage points more likely than nonduals to be admitted to a low-quality (1-2 stars) nursing home. Using the Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition approach in a multivariate framework, we find that 35.4% of the difference in admission to low-quality nursing homes can be...
Among high-risk Medicare Advantage members with congestive heart failure, a proactive outreach program driven by a claims-based predictive algorithm reduced the likelihood of an emergency department (ED) or specialist visit in one year by 20% and 21%, respectively. The average number of visits dropped as well, with a 40% reduction in the volume of ED visits and a 27% reduction in the volume of cardiology visits after the first year.
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.
Do residents need more sleep? Two new studies in the New England Journal of Medicine compare the effects of standard versus flexible duty-hours on residents’ sleep and patient safety.
The iCOMPARE trial randomized 63 internal medicine residency programs, consisting of over 5,000 trainees, to standard duty-hour policies or flexible policies. All programs were held to an 80-hour work week, but flexible policies had no limits on shift lengths and did not mandate time off between shifts.
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.
Should providers participating in accountable care organizations (ACOs) be exempt from existing regulations that prevent financial conflicts of interest in physician referrals? On the one hand, these regulations, collectively known as the Stark Law, can impede efforts to coordinate care across providers and facilities. On the other hand, ACOs and other alternative payment and delivery models do not necessarily obviate the need for regulations that prohibit physician kickbacks or self-referrals.
Everyone wants a dignified death – yet few actually experience one. Despite preferring to remain at home, most older adults spend their final days in hospitals, where they often undergo medical care that neither improves survival, quality of life, nor satisfaction and is often incongruent with their wishes and goals. A new study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society describes these problems in end of life care in nearly 500 U.S.
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.