Or so the thought is by many in the health care world.
Thus, the motivation for chronic care management programs was born.
CMS, the august government body charged with overseeing Medicare (and Medicaid), instituted a 3 year, $360 million, test program to see if these programs would have the effect of saving the system money.
Using regular phone contact to check on the health of chronically ill U.S. Medicare patients appears to cost more than it saves the system.
More from the article: "[t]he problem is that the fees paid to the companies make the program uneconomic." (Note that a longer version is available at the NY Times website here.)
My favorite part of the UPI brief: "Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., are pressing for its continuation. Companies involved in the program are based in both of their states."
First: sounds a lot like the need to ‘overpay’ private companies for Medicare services under the Medicare Advantage program.
Second: I am waiting for the dissembling by those who do not see any ‘politics as usual’ in that the brave, well-intentioned politicians (from both parties) are more driven by political expediency—the desire to pass your money (actually, it is your grandchildren’s, but what is a couple of generations of debt, really) onto their voting and donating constituents. The vaunted ‘evidence based’ approach plays no role (and will always be second fiddle to the bureaucrat-controlled world of ‘healthcare-by-lobbyist™’.
Third: At what point will those who tout the savings of a massive expenditure on ‘chronic disease management’ consider that they ought to preface their comments and claims with "we hope"? (political strategists take note: there are the makings of a catchy phrase here.)
Before the usual suspects accuse me of wanting to maintain the status quo to line my own pocket (a comment that is always guaranteed with nearly all of my posts), I do not doubt that if people took better care of themselves, the system would save some money. Please note that I have used the ‘intensive noun’, themselves, rather than using a phrase like government-paid contractors who are motivated to keep patients dependent upon their services, which happen to include chronic disease management and advice.
(Full disclosure: I guess I can be accused of being a government-paid contractor through my Medicare agreement.)