How best practices in Medicare Advantage can modernize Medicare

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently hosted its 4th Annual Health Care Summit, “Optimizing the Next Generation of Health Care,” to discuss various ways to improve the U.S. health care system. I was honored to participate in a panel discussion on best practices in Medicare Advantage (MA), along with Kevin Cammarata, Executive Director, Benefits, Verizon; Dr. Gary Puckrein, President and CEO, National Minority Quality Forum; and Chester Speed, Vice President, Public Policy, American Medical Group Association.

Medicare sees more care coordination in its future

Roll Call and Collaborative Health Systems recently hosted a joint briefing, “ACOs: The Future of Coordinated Care,” to discuss the role of coordinated care in the U.S. health care system. Through coordinated care, teams of physicians and care coordinators help patients smoothly transition from one medical setting to the next. Patients with chronic conditions often see multiple specialists, so care coordination is a valuable part of their health care experience.

Strengthening Medicare for the Future

This July marks 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law. Since Medicare’s passage in 1965, the program has expanded to cover more services and provide greater care for seniors.  However, the Medicare that President Johnson signed into law 50 years ago is on an unsustainable path today. More seniors are aging into the program and living longer than ever before, raising concerns about Medicare’s solvency.

At 50 years Medicare is still working – but in need of some reform

Fifty years is a milestone whether it is a person’s age, a marriage or the number of years in business.  Medicare is no different, and this summer marks 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson signed the Medicare program into law at a bill-signing ceremony where he presented former President Harry Truman and his wife, Bess, with the first two Medicare cards.

Learning from Examples on Providing Diabetes Care

It’s no secret that the number of people with diabetes is increasing. Twenty-seven percent of Medicare beneficiaries are diabetic, and another 50 percent are prediabetic. And as Americans live longer but with more chronic conditions, it is imperative that we find innovative programs to provide effective care to patients with diabetes while combating wasteful Medicare spending.

New Year, New Focus on Chronic Disease Prevention

With a new year comes a brand new batch of resolutions, and this year was no different. Unsurprisingly, weight loss continued to top the list in 2015. While everyone has great intentions on January 1, evidence shows that most have given up on their resolutions by the second or third week of the month. With this day rapidly approaching, it’s important to note that the CDC is offering some timely help this year. At the very end of 2015, the CDC introduced new standards allowing more digital flexibility in its National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP).

Better Health Coverage Information Will Improve Health Outcomes

Millions of older adults are currently undergoing the daunting task of selecting a health plan. During Medicare’s annual open enrollment period, beneficiaries can select or make changes to their existing health coverage. For many seniors, the process can be overwhelming.  It is also unnecessarily complicated, time consuming, and often dissatisfying.  Medicare beneficiaries’ health needs are diverse and often complex – many have multiple chronic conditions or are disabled.

We Have a Deal, But We Still Need Solutions

With the passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, a compromise reached by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Congress has finally overcome partisan gridlock and agreed on a budget for the first time in far too long. However, while the agreement is a welcome and important development that will help to forestall further stalemates and put the country’s finances in order for the next two years, it is an undeniably small deal, that does little to address and offer actual solutions for some of our nation’s most pressing challenges – including fixing Medicare.


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