Blog Entries: Medicare

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Improving Health Care from the Ground Up

March 14, 2012 - The latest report in a series of Commonwealth Fund scorecards that highlight stark differences in health care across the country ranks 306 communities on 43 measures of health system performance.

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Bending the Health Care Cost Curve: New Era in American Health Care?

January 18, 2012 - Health care spending in 2009 and 2010 grew at the slowest rates in 50 years. This startling news was largely attributed to the shrinking economy. In a new blog post, Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis suggests that lower longer-term projections point to a shift in the health system.

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The Bundled Payment for Care Improvement Initiative: Achieving High-Value Care with a Single Payment

January 07, 2012 - The Commonwealth Fund's Mark Zezza, Stuart Guterman, and Jennie Smith review the Bundled Payment for Care Improvement Initiative,a three-year project beginning in 2012, that will allow physicians, hospitals, and post–acute care providers to receive bundled payments as a way of supporting the delivery of efficient and high-value care.

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The Aftermath of the Super Committee: What Will It Take to Reduce Federal Health Spending?

December 12, 2011 - At the December 2 Alliance for Health Reform briefing, "Inside Deficit Reduction: What Now?," a panel of experts with diverse perspectives discussed the potential impact on health policy of the failure of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to reach agreement on a plan to reduce the federal deficit.

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The Innovation Center at One Year: Much Progress, More to Be Done

November 29, 2011 - The Commonwealth Fund's Mark Zezza, Melinda Abrams, and Stuart Guterman review the Innovation Center's first year and highlight areas for future development and consideration.

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Medicare Physician Payment: It's Time for Real Reform

November 03, 2011 - Medicare physician fees are scheduled to be reduced by 27.4 percent on January 1, unless Congress acts to override that reduction or eliminate the sustainable growth rate (SGR) mechanism that is used to determine the annual update. In a new post, Stuart Guterman says that Congress repeal and replace the SGR.

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Accountable Care Organization Final Regulations Give Health Care Providers More Flexibility

October 21, 2011 - The highly anticipated final regulations for accountable care organizations (ACOs) were recently released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In this post, the Fund's Mark Zezza and Stuart Guterman outline the key changes to the regulations.

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Measuring Care Coordination in Medical Homes

October 21, 2011 - In a guide released today by the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative, a chapter by Commonwealth Fund staff outlines key strategies to help health systems effectively measure care coordination as a routine part of medical home activities. This post outlines the seven strategies proposed in the chapter.

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Inside Deficit Reduction: What It Means for Health Care

October 17, 2011 - The Commonwealth Fund's Caryn Marks and Megan Keenan recount a recent briefing that examined the potential impact of various deficit reduction plans on Medicare. The briefing was the second in a series of Alliance for Health Reform briefings on deficit reduction, jointly sponsored by The Commonwealth Fund, The SCAN Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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Expanding the Options for Accountable Care Organizations: The Pioneer Model, Part II

October 14, 2011 - In this two-part blog post, Mark Zezza and Stuart Guterman highlight aspects of the Pioneer Model accountable care organization program. In this post, they look at patient assignment, provider participation, the contract period, the governing board, and multipayer alignment.

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Expanding the Options for Accountable Care Organizations: The Pioneer Model, Part I

October 12, 2011 - In a two-part blog post, Commonwealth Fund authors Mark Zezza and Stuart Guterman highlight aspects of the Pioneer Model and how it differs from the Shared Savings Program. In this post, they look at shared-savings payments.

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Meeting the Demand for Improved Services and Supports for Older People and People with Disabilities

October 06, 2011 - Commonwealth Fund staff Caryn Marks, Megan Keenan, and Mary Jane Koren report on the Alliance for Health Reform/Fund briefing onthe opportunities and challenges in the U.S. long-term services and supports system.

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Too Sick to Fail: Care Coordination for the Chronically Ill

August 15, 2011 - National policymakers have a vested interest in supporting and promoting effective care coordination interventions for patients with the highest health needs, say The Commonwealth Fund's Rachel Nuzum, Caryn Marks, and Megan Keenan.

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Achieving Medicare and Medicaid Savings: Cutting Eligibility and Benefits, Trimming Payments, or Ensuring the Right Care?

July 13, 2011 - Given persistent budgetary pressures, it's not surprising that the Administration and Congress are weighing options for achieving savings in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, say the Fund's Karen Davis and Stu Guterman. It's important, however, to bear three points in mind.

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Leveraging the Medicaid Provider Rate Increase to Improve Primary Care

June 28, 2011 - This blog post highlights a Commonwealth Fund-initiative that will provide practical guidance to Medicaid agencies and health plans on incorporating the Medicaid rate increase for primary care into a broader strategy that not only expands access to care but fosters greater accountability.

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