Berwick hearing leaves Finance Committee wanting more

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Berwick decries Medicare and Medicaid fraud and waste in parting interview
Berwick decries Medicare and Medicaid fraud and waste in parting interview

Dr. Donald Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, delivered testimony before the Senate Finance Committee Wednesday that reflected his support of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. But committee members did not feel they had adequate time during the hearing to ask Berwick about his views.

Berwick stressed the need to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations to reduce costs and promoted concepts such as accountable care organizations to streamline the delivery of healthcare. He also advocated for health homes, a concept in which states will help to establish coordinated services for Medicaid beneficiaries with chronic conditions. The idea is to provide a bridge to home- and community-based services. Another topic in his address was medical homes, which will provide "home bases" for patients, likely in a primary care doctor's office, to give patients a coordinated care team.

Wednesday's hearing, which lasted a little over an hour, was too short for some committee members, who didn't get a chance to question Berwick as much as they had hoped. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) called the hearing "pathetic," according to The Associated Press.

Republicans will have more time to grill Berwick again when the Republican-controlled House holds hearings after the first of the year.

Read Berwick's prepared testimony here.