Adding Value to Savings in Healthcare Cost

Galloping healthcare costs and growing deficit have been two major issues that kept the U.S Administration always on high alert. Critics have been holding it responsible for spending money for fighting complications instead of paying attention to coordination. They argue that for the sake of saving costs it has been wasting billions for reaching out to doctors to adopt digital health records.

 

On the Right Path, says the Government

However, according to the official Administration, pioneer Accountable Care Organizations have started taking steps to improve Medicare patients’ health and lowering costs through improved care coordination. “The Affordable Care Act has saved money of millions of Americans under Medicaid and private insurance for recommended preventive care at no additional cost,” claims government agencies. Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) created under the new law pay incentives to doctors and other providers to work together to provide more coordinated care to their patients.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) under the Medicare Shared Savings Program facilitate coordination and cooperation among providers to improve the quality of care at reduced costs thus adding value to savings in the cost of care.

The Government says its efforts have started showing results. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) has also justified this statement in one of her recent articles in the healthaffairs.org stating that nationwide growth rate in Medicare readmission remained steady during the last five years.

Another report by the West Health Institute (WHI) as quoted in the amednews.com also shows that the efforts of CMS have started paying off. The WHI report presented on the 20th of March this year at the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health states that the saving on hospital-stays due to “linking medical devices to electronic health records amounted to $17.8 billion; $12.3 billion from increased clinician productivity; $3 billion by lowering the cost of care; $2 billion by reducing adverse events; and $1.2 billion from wider adoption of interoperability standards.”

Families who purchase private health insurance through exchanges beginning 2014 could save up to $2,300 on their healthcare each year. By 2021 the government expects a huge saving on Medicare. The CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation have already stated that enacting the H.R. 3590 and the reconciliation proposal would “pull down federal deficits of $143 billion in the 2010–2019 periods as a result of changes in direct spending and revenues.“

 

More to Do

There are still miles to go. The U.S. could save more than $30 billion annually if medical devices had better interoperability, states the WHI report. According to HHS Secretary’s own statement the rate of readmission of seniors with preventable problems has been on the rise. She too agrees that these can be drastically brought down by better coordination of care and support.

Studies show that the growing use of healthcare IT among providers has added value to savings in care with improved patient outcomes. The message is loud and clear; pay attention to care coordination and focus on personal care for improved value addition.

Image courtesy: thinkprogress.org and tlc.howstuffworks.com
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