Medicare provides health insurance coverage to an enormous number of Americans. It is efficient, but very costly. If only something could be done to make it more innovative….
Something is being done. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, CMS, has an Innovation Center that is developing and testing new ways of paying for health care, new approaches designed to put incentives into alignment in order to achieve better health care quality at lower cost.
Our guest today is Dr. William Shrank, Director of the CMS Innovation Center’s Rapid Cycle Evaluation Group. Dr. Shrank explains how the Affordable Care Act (so-called “Obamacare”) has put into place a program to develop, test and implement new payment models to reduce cost and improve quality, to bend down the upward curve of medical care spending.
Dr. Shrank explains that the current system pays for higher volume care, not higher quality or more efficient care. The “DRG” system was put in place years ago to pay hospitals for episodes of care, but it didn’t cover other health care costs. More holistic systems and perhaps accountable care organizations will provide a means to take extend the advantages of DRG’s to health care in a more global way.
Dr. Shrank lets us know that the Innovation Center is seeking input and suggestions through its website.