Chronically Ill Patients Get More Care, Less Quality

April 17, 2008 at 2:36 am Leave a comment

Here is a report every person in CME should at least scan as a source of needs assessment data . What follows is a press release from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (4/07/2008). Download the Dartmouth Atlas.

“Medicare pays many hospitals and doctors more than the most efficient and effective health care institutions to treat chronically ill people, yet gets worse results, a new report from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice finds.

Funded primarily by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the report, Tracking the Care of Patients with Severe Chronic Illness: The Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care 2008 (184 pages, PDF), found that caring for people with chronic diseases accounts for more than 75 percent of all health care spending, due in part to Medicare’s encouragement of the use of acute care hospital services and the proliferation of medical specialists. Indeed, the U.S. healthcare system as a whole lacks efficient ways of caring for people with severe chronic illnesses, the report found.

The report found significant variations in the number of services that patients with severe chronic diseases receive at the end of life, depending on the hospital, region, and state in which the patient is located, rather than how sick a patient is. The report also found that regions and states that use more services per patient do not necessarily have higher quality care — in fact, care in these states is slightly worse.

According to the report, Medicare could save tens of billions of dollars annually if it mirrored the practice patterns of more efficient and effective health care systems such as the Mayo Clinic. With the leading edge of the baby boom generation approaching retirement age, such savings would be realized just as Medicare needs that money most. Medicare spending, like health care spending overall, is expected to double over the next decade, reaching $4 trillion annually by 2017.

“This report demonstrates the need to overhaul the ways in which we care for Americans with chronic illness,” said RWJF president and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey. “The extent of variation in Medicare spending, and the evidence that more care does not result in better outcomes, should lead us to ask if some chronically ill Americans are getting more care than they or their families actually want or need.”


Entry filed under: CME, CME Issues, Continuing Medical Education. Tags: .

Pharma Interest in CME Outcomes An example of the need for QI and CME to collaborate.

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