CMS to launch project for Medicare recipients with chronic diseases

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Nursing home residents will be part of a new government initiative to help Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes and congestive heart failure lessen their health risks.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said this week it will establish eight Medicare Health Support pilot programs throughout the country for around 160,000 fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries for three years. Facility residents are among those beneficiaries.

"Because early intervention is tremendously important in treating chronic illnesses, we are providing beneficiaries additional tools to help them manage their health more effectively and avoid preventable complications," Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt said in the announcement.

CMS estimates that 18 million of 40 million Americans eligible for Medicare have diabetes, and they account for 32% of Medicare spending. Fourteen percent have congestive heart failure and account for 43% of Medicare spending.

More information about the initiative is available at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/medicarereform/ccip.