Kip Piper's Health Care Blog
Medicare, Medicaid, Health Reform

Much of the story about rising health costs and spending has to do with relatively small groups of people with expensive health needs. For example, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates Medicare beneficiaries with two or more chronic conditions accounted for 93 percent of Medicare spending...
For over a decade, the sustainable growth rate (SGR) has been a source of financial worry for physicians who serve Medicare patients. Medicare’s physician payment rate is based on a composite measure of the cost of care, multiplied by a factor derived from the SGR formula. Every year since...
The term “post-acute care” (PAC) covers a range of services patients receive after a hospital stay. Skilled nursing facilities, home health care agencies, long-term care hospitals, and inpatient rehabilitation hospitals all provide post-acute care. PAC providers are an important part of efforts to reduce hospital readmissions, which are a...
State Medicaid programs will spend about $175 billion this year on health care for dual eligibles - low-income seniors and persons with disabilities who receive benefits from both Medicare and Medicaid.  State spending on dual eligibles falls primarily in three areas:  long term services and supports (nursing home, home...
Many new care models in both the public and private sector focus on people with chronic diseases, particularly conditions like diabetes, congestive heart failure, and hypertension. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Care Coordination/Home Telehealth (CCHT) pilot program serves veterans at risk of needing long term care for chronic conditions. Physician...
One of the most talked-about aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is how it will affect women’s health care. The biggest After 2014, health plans will no longer be allowed to charge different premiums based on gender, regardless of whether or not they are Qualified Health Plans (QHP)...
What's the impact on patient care, particularly prescription drug utilization, as Medicaid beneficiaries move from fee-for-service to Medicaid health plans?  This year, state Medicaid programs will spend over $22.1 billion on pharmacy benefits. This will grow to about $50 billion by 2020, according the CMS actuaries. Nearly half of Medicaid prescriptions...
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) created a trade-off for providers, particularly hospitals: On the one hand, Medicare fee-for-service hospital payments will be cut by $260 billion over 10 years. Some people newly eligible for Medicaid will switch from private insurance, which pays much higher provider rates than Medicaid does....
It’s not uncommon for a patient to be confused or overwhelmed by a diagnosis or treatment plan.  Complicated medical procedures or decisions can overwhelm patients to the point that they feel that they cannot, or should not, ask questions of their providers.   However, this lack of patient involvement in...
The nation's largest health care buyers - Medicare, state Medicaid programs, large employers, and health plans - are eager for ways to improve the quality and efficiency of chronic health conditions, which drive the bulk of health spending.  Payment reform and care delivery reforms are critically important.  Providers -...

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