Current healthcare costs can't be maintained, administration official says

Share this article:

Current U.S. healthcare costs are unsustainably high for the relative value being provided — particularly for low-income individuals — Donald Berwick, M.D., administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said Thursday.

While reiterating that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act contains the tools needed to improve the system, Berwick cited patient safety and effective care for the poor as problem areas. However, in a briefing with the magazine Health Affairs, Berwick said coordinated care, such as accountable care organizations, is the best way to cut costs.

One example: Partnership for Patients, created under the PPACA. This program aims to reduce hospital-acquired conditions by 40% and hospital readmissions by 20% by 2013. It's “the largest effort, I think, ever undertaken anywhere in the world — certainly in our country — to try to help healthcare become safer,” Berwick said. While the government will invest $1 billion, the program is expected to save Medicare about $30 billion over 10 years, he said.

On the heels of a CMS memo that proposes behavioral therapy for obese Medicare patients, health policy professor Kenneth Thorpe also discussed community-based weight loss programs at the briefing, according to published reports. If these programs were available to those over 60 who are at risk for diabetes, Medicare could save $15 billion over the lifetimes of baby boomers, Thorpe said.
Share this article:

More in News

'Minor' issues at the nursing home can cause disastrous care transitions, expert warns

'Minor' issues at the nursing home can cause ...

What may appear to be minor administrative problems in a nursing home - a fax machine locked away at night or no one designated to copy paperwork - can cause ...

Long-term care facilities approach 80% worker flu vaccination rate after handing power ...

Fourteen long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania dramatically increased their staff flu vaccination rate by having a regional pharmacy take over the process, according to a report issued Thursday by the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (AHQR).

RACs were 'most improved' healthcare auditors for getting back money in 2013, ...

Medicare Recovery Audit Contractors dramatically stepped up their overpayment recoveries last year, returning nearly $487 million more to the government than they did in 2012, according to a new report from a federal watchdog agency.