Experts tell CMS to learn from past mistakes when creating new pilot programs

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A group of healthcare reform experts is urging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to reflect on past Medicare reform programs as it develops the new Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMI).

Each of the four authors of a new report, “Lessons For The New CMS Innovation Center From The Medicare Health Support Program,” participated in an earlier pilot program, the Medical Health Support Program, according to a story in The New York Times. That pilot was designed to help reduce costs by better managing chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. But that program ran afoul as a result of a number of problems, including the selection of too many participants who were already very sick—all but eliminating short-term cost savings, as well as having to pay large sums to private disease management companies.

The CMI is designed to create and implement other similar pilot programs to save money. The report's authors have laid out some lessons they learned from the Medical Health Support Program. They stress the importance of strong leadership, collaboration and flexibility to foster innovation, receptivity of beneficiaries to care management, and the need for timely data on patients' status. The full report appears in a recent edition of the journal Health Affairs.