BOSTON-Community Catalyst today announced the launch of Voices for Better Health, a project to advance patient-driven care and establish a strong voice for the nation’s ten million “dual eligibles”: older and disabled Americans who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid coverage. In today’s fragmented health care system, dual eligible patients, who tend to be poorer, sicker and rely more heavily on supportive services, are forced to navigate through a complicated maze of multiple doctors, medications and programs. This care is expensive, estimated at over $300 billion in annual Medicare and Medicaid spending.
Voices for Better Health will boost the role of advocates in four states working to shape a new set of demonstration projects created by the Affordable Care Act to provide quality care for the unique dual eligible population. The multi-year project, which is funded through a $3 million grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies, a limited life foundation, will also seek to institutionalize ways to make dual eligibles active, meaningful and lasting participants in the demonstration projects.
“Today there are few health delivery systems engaging at-risk patients to best meet their needs,” said Renée Markus Hodin, director of Community Catalyst’s Voices for Better Health Project. “The demonstration projects present an opportunity to change that by coordinating care across providers and services in a way that dramatically improves outcomes for dual eligibles.”
In addition to improving outcomes, the demonstration projects are also expected to create cost savings. “There is the risk that the drive to save money will outweigh the goal of achieving better quality care,” Hodin cautioned “That’s why Voices For Better Health will play a leading role in ensuring patients, their caregivers and advocates have a strong voice in these projects.”
Community Catalyst seeks to achieve quality, affordable health care for all Americans, particularly for vulnerable Americans. Voices for Better Health builds on past efforts with a focus on improving care for dually eligible adults. Practices that put patients’ needs first can also make care more cost-effective by reducing hospital readmissions and unnecessary nursing home placements. A number of delivery systems across the country are already illustrating how providers can deliver on the promise of quality, coordinated and cost-effective care for vulnerable older adults.
“There is a growing recognition among health plans that we need to redesign the way we deliver care to our poorest, sickest and neediest patients who often suffer under our current fragmented health system,” said Bob Master, CEO of the Commonwealth Care Alliance, a non-profit health care delivery system that focuses on dual eligibles. “We now have an opportunity to develop a much more rational system that does a better job caring for patients and improves the bottom line – Voices for Better Health will help us get there faster.”
Voices for Better Health will coordinate and support the efforts of advocates in Michigan, New York, Ohio and Washington as they work to shape the design and implementation of the dual eligible demonstration projects in their states and nationally. To learn more about Voices for Better Health, view a video or visit our web page.
About Community Catalyst
Community Catalyst is a national, non-profit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1997 with the belief that affordable quality health care should be accessible to everyone. We work in partnership with national, state and local organizations, policymakers, and philanthropic foundations to ensure consumer interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and the health system are made: in communities, courtrooms, statehouses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org.
About The Atlantic Philanthropies
The Atlantic Philanthropies are dedicated to bringing about lasting changes in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. Atlantic is a limited life foundation that makes grants through its five programme areas: Ageing, Children & Youth, Population Health, Reconciliation & Human Rights, and Founding Chairman. Atlantic is active in Bermuda, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United States and Viet Nam. To learn more, please visit www.atlanticphilanthropies.org.