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CMS Creates Web-Based Tool for Medicare Chronic Conditions

March 29, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced a new Medicare Chronic Conditions Dashboard to provide researchers, physicians, public health professionals, and policymakers data on the geographic spread, required services and costs for beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions.

“More than two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries have multiple chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, and that number will rise with an aging population,” CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said in a statement. “The Affordable Care Act addresses these health problems by making people with Medicare eligible for recommended preventive care without Part B deductibles or copayments. The healthcare law also promotes better healthcare coordination and management of chronic conditions through analysis of current data.”

The dashboard is part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Initiative on Multiple Chronic Conditions, established in 2009. The Multiple Chronic Conditions: A Strategic Framework was developed to serve as a national roadmap for HHS as well as public and private stakeholders to use to coordinate and improve the health of beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions.

“The Dashboard is a major step forward to help people living with multiple chronic conditions,” Assistant Secretary for Health Howard K. Koh, M.D., said in a statement. “This web-based tool provides new and critical data that can help us develop better patient-centered approaches to improve health outcomes, lower costs, and maximize quality of life.”

In calendar year 2011, spending for Medicare beneficiaries with two or more chronic conditions was about $276 billion, about 93 percent of all Medicare spending. Analytics based on Dashboard data can be an important tool to support policies to help slow the growth in costs for beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions in years ahead.

The Dashboard helps users find, analyze, and apply summarized data from CMS’ Chronic Conditions Data Warehouse. The Dashboard will promote better understanding of overlapping medical conditions related to overall patient health, helping to identify common concurrent conditions and areas where prevention and treatment can improve care and lower costs.

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