Medicare Launches Experiment to Improve Care

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Medicare launches experiment to improve careWASHINGTON (AP) - Medicare says it's launching a national experiment to improve care for seniors, and hopefully save taxpayers money as well.

Officials announced Monday that 32 networks of doctors and hospitals around the country are becoming Pioneer Accountable Care Organizations, or ACOs.

Behind the acronym is a coordinated approach to medicine so that risks like high blood pressure and elevated blood sugars are managed better and patients get help leading a healthier lifestyle.
The networks will be eligible for financial rewards if they improve care and lower costs.

About 860,000 of Medicare's 47 million beneficiaries will be involved in the test. They'll still be free to go to any doctor.

Officials hope the test will lead to a new model for all of Medicare.

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alsh2

The atitude now is starve medicare and social security. This 2% tax cut is 2% less paid into social security. The short fall is then covered from the general fund and then deducted from what the government owes social security...2.7 TRILLION. This gives current workers BILLIONS that previous workers put in...so they'll spend it and make the economy look better...and get them reelected.
Medicare has hired bean counters to go back on past payments to doctors and saying they want the money back because medicare has now decided NOT to cover what they used to cover!

December 20 2011 at 12:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
alsh2

The doctors are already paid a pittance. We need to fund medicare with a raise in the deductions for current workers. Raise the cap because when current workers like me go on it the costs will be much higher.

December 20 2011 at 12:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to alsh2's comment
Mickylitz

You call charging $ 249 dollars for a 10 minutes visit a pittance ? And we're not talking specialists .Helloooo.....

December 21 2011 at 7:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bajingobells

I'd bet that the "rewards" given out match dollar for dollar the medical costs "saved". This is a stunt so politicos can point to their pet project while they bleat about how much money they "saved'.

December 20 2011 at 11:59 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
bajingobells

I'd bet that the "rewards" given out match dollar for dollar the medical costs "saved". This is a stunt so politicos can point to their pet project while they bleat about how much money they "saved'.

December 20 2011 at 11:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jerry

What's so earth shaking about this approach. It should be done by all doctors with all patients at all ages.
Just the younger have more money for meds. and the seniors are being cut back so the gov. doesn't have to
pay.

December 20 2011 at 11:28 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
blruop

This article told me absolutely NOTHING! Insurance companies should provide better dietary and excercise incentives and payments with quarterly visits to the doctor and recorded outcomes accountability from the fitness centers. It would be much cheaper than prescriptions and surgeries. Companies should be implementing better workplace wellness programs, such as fitness center memberships, etc.

December 20 2011 at 11:26 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
kiss the woolies

Medicare rewards the doctors (with the strong lobbying) who end up being the ones committing a huge part of the billing fraud... $1500 injections for pain. Forcing office visits on Medicare recipients for a therapy script... without even poking their head in the door when the patient is there. Prescribing loads of addictivie pain medications when some physical therapy could provide the relief they need, along the education to manage that pain without costly drugs and the dangerous drivers they produce on the road. Doctors refusing to prescribe physical therapy for patients with gait issues, who are at risk for falls without guidance and strengthening. It's much cheaper to get some Part B therapy than to pay for an ambulance, broken hip surgery, hospitalization, then REHAB HOSP stays to get their therapy at the END of all this expense anyway. Oh, and then getting sent home from rehab with Medicare Part A nursing and its useless 15 minute part A therapy. Stupid. Yep, Medicare loves to coddle the doctors and the home health agencies ... and then decrease and threaten, year after year, Part B Therapy caps which is the only useful treatment to a patient, and cost effective prevention for Medicare... wise up. Just because there isn't so much money for PT and OT to lobby with- doesn't make the discipline and care any less effective for the patient/beneficiary.

December 20 2011 at 10:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cwlanders

Well, something that simple could very well make quite a difference, keeping blood pressure under control and sugar levels in order can save a lot of problems in the long run. This seems like a simple thing to do, but sometimes the simplest is the most effective.

December 20 2011 at 10:39 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
busymissnanci

And so it begins.......if Medicare correctly audited bills submitted for payment, made sure doctors were doctors, and ascertained that they treated the patients for the bills submitted, we could cut a lot of waste from the medicare budget. We frequently hear about huge medicare frauds. Seems to me it would be worthwhile to invest in some auditing procedures, rather than financially reward big corporations (again) for cutting costs. You can bet it will be at the expense of the patient, in more ways than one!

December 20 2011 at 9:36 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to busymissnanci's comment
Mickylitz

In a better world I would totally agree with you and do to some extent but with society's moral conduct in a past few decades we would have to hire other auditors to supervise the first ones.
With the decrease of harsh consequences for bad behavior came this vicious circle suffocating the whole population.

December 20 2011 at 10:07 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Joyce

Medicare should do what my dental insurance does---Send the patient a statement detailing exactly what was dine, and how much they paid for it. That way I know what they were billed for, and if something's not right, I can notify them. I think that would work, because I'm sure most people don't want to get mixed up in Medicare fraud.

December 20 2011 at 12:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sproutmb84

I will soon be 72 & my experience with changing Drs now, their comment to me has been that since Im on Medicare they wont take me. So what are we Seniors supposed to do ?? We are the ones who normally need the care. I went to a Walk In clinic several weeks ago & was shocked when they told me that they didnt accept Medicare patients.

December 20 2011 at 9:29 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply