The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will be incentivizing doctors to coordinate care for Medicare patients that suffer from multiple chronic illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease, according to a report from The New York Times.
CMS will be paying these doctors to look at patients with at least two chronic illnesses, starting in January 2015. This examination includes assessing their “medical, psychological, and social needs,” checking on medication adherence, coordinating with other doctors providing care, and ensuring smooth transitions of care. Patients will have access to doctors on a 24/7 basis.
The tab will be approximately $42 per patient, The Times reports, and the services occur as long as the patient agrees in writing. Part of the care coordination will include CMS’ desire to have providers use electronic health records to exchange information with other providers, says The New York Times.
Two-thirds of Medicare patients have at least two chronic illnesses and would be eligible for this program. They account for nearly 95 percent of all Medicare spending. The Times notes how these types of care coordination incentive programs have been picked up by private health insurers, but not yet the government.
“Paying separately for chronic care management services is a significant policy change,” Marilyn Tavenner, the administrator of CMS, said to The New York Times.