BY GEORGE HALVORSON
Former Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson has written on THCB on and off over the years, most notably with his proposal for Medicare Advantage for All post-COVID. He wrote a piece in Health Affairs last year arguing with the stance of Medicare Advantage of Don Berwick and Rick Gilfillan (Here’s their piece pt1, pt2). We also published his criticism (Part 1. Part 2. Part 3) of Medpac’s analysis of Medicare Advantage. Now Medpac is meeting again and George is wondering why they don’t seem to care about diabetic foot amputations. We are publishing part one today with part two coming soon – Matthew Holt
We need to look honestly at some sad and grim realities about American Health Care and about the role that fee for service Medicare plays for too many people in our country today.
Fee for service Medicare has the highest level of amputations and one of the highest levels of diabetic blindness of any country in the western world because it buys care so badly and so ineptly and then too often underperforms in multiple ways on the delivery of that care.
Fee for Service Medicare only buys care and pays for care by the piece. It’s caregivers, both as a group and as individuals, actually can often make more money by performing, inadequate, unsuccessful and, far too often, even bad care, because bad care can result in more care being needed, purchased and paid for.
Many of the failures of care for the patients with the medical conditions that cause them to spend far too much time in the hospital, and in various other care settings, should not be happening—and we know that to be true because large numbers of the care failures are not happening to the patients who are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans.
Medicare Advantage plans all have basic care plans and approaches for their patients that are linked to care related care processes of care—and a very high percentage of those processes do not exist for far too many of our fee for service Medicare enrollees
The sad and unfortunate reality is that fee for service Medicare has no quality standards, no quality expectations, and that it is, in aggregate, a very expensive way to buy care because bad care often costs more money at several levels than appropriate care.
Those accusations are easy to prove and they are easy to demonstrate.Continue reading…