Study Highlights Importance of Asking Patients What Matters

A study of patients with abdominal or back pain reveals the differences between the health outcomes patients and their family members think are important versus those that physicians think are important. Groups of patients, family members and physicians were independently asked to rate the importance of 21 health outcomes. The results showed that the patient and family member groups rated the outcomes similarly, while the physicians’ ratings were significantly different. This study highlights the importance of including patient-centered viewpoints and outcomes in measuring health care quality.

CMS Suspends New Enrollments into CIGNA Medicare Advantage and Part D Products

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) recently suspended new enrollments into CIGNA Medicare Advantage and Part D products due to “widespread and systemic failures” that prevented patients from accessing medical services. These deficiencies posed “a serious threat to the health and safety of Medicare beneficiaries” and followed years of noncompliance, CMS said in the letter. Two of CIGNA’s Medicare-Medicaid Plans the sanctions affect are one serving over 7,000 enrollees in the greater Chicago region and another serving dually eligible enrollees in Hidalgo County, Texas.

CMS Releases New Reports and Rules

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a number of important documents over the past few weeks. These include:

  • The evaluation report from the third program year of the Initiative to Reduce Avoidable Hospitalizations among Nursing Home Residents.
  • A guide to reducing racial and ethnic disparities in hospital readmissions.
  • The patient survey star ratings for home care services.
  • A final rule clarifying that a Medicaid beneficiary does not need to be homebound to receive home health services.
  • A proposed rule updating the methodology used to measure the performance of Accountable Care Organizations that continue their participation in the Medicare Shared Savings Program. Comments on this proposed rule are due March 28, 2016.

Paper Highlights Progress at National Aging Network

The National Academy of Social Insurance has released a white paper that highlights initiatives underway in the National Aging Network administered by the Administration on Aging, a division of the Administration for Community Living. The paper describes signs of significant progress by the Aging Network in developing new relationships with a diverse array of health care organizations. The paper also includes a series of case studies from Florida, Massachusetts and California highlighting the work of the network.

Report on Impact of Patient-Centered Medical Homes

The Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative released a new report that demonstrates the impact of patient-centered medical homes (PCMH) on health care cost and quality. The report highlights 30 primary care PCMH initiatives across the country and makes the case for investing in primary care, comprehensive payment reform, the alignment of payment and performance measurement, and a unified multi-stakeholder voice that speaks to the importance of alternative payment reforms to support the PCMH model.