This post points out some technical caveats when using BLS hospital price data. These technical issues may explain the divergence between BLS data and the pricing data reported by insurers and hospitals for their privately insured patients. We will discuss technical issues with three different BLS measures of hospital price inflation.
Today the Commission released a contractor report that looked at the question: does the hospice benefit increase or reduce Medicare spending? Hospice proponents often argue that hospice is a valuable service not only because it provides coordinated, patient-centered end-of-life care, but also because it reduces Medicare spending for patients at the end of life. However, today’s report concludes that hospice does not appear to produce lower aggregate Medicare spending.
Today, the Commission published its comment letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on the fiscal year 2016 hospice proposed rule. In the rule, CMS proposed modifying the structure of payment rates for hospice routine home care. The proposed changes, though modest, are consistent with the Commission’s March 2009 recommendation for hospice payment reform. The Commission urges CMS to proceed with implementing these changes.
The issue of wasteful or “low-value” health care has attracted a lot of attention in the policy community because it represents an opportunity to reduce health care spending while maintaining or even improving quality for patients. The Commission has been working on ways to measure the incidence of low-value care within Medicare. The most recent iteration of this work, which was presented at our April meeting [link to presentation], contributes to the evidence that Medicare beneficiaries are receiving a significant amount of low-value care.
MedPAC’s March 2015 report continues the Commission’s focus on increasing support for primary care with a recommendation to create a per beneficiary payment for primary care providers.
MedPAC’s March 2015 report continues the Commission’s focus on site-neutral payments with a recommendation to eliminate differences in payment rates between inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs) and skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) for selected conditions.
This year, MedPAC examined coding differences between beneficiaries in FFS Medicare and those enrolled in MA plans. We found that beneficiaries in MA had more growth in risk scores than beneficiaries who had remained in FFS. And those differences grew the longer enrollees stayed in MA.
The hospital readmission reduction program (HRRP), established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, has helped to reduce hospital readmissions. Since the introduction of the HRRP, readmission rates have fallen for Medicare beneficiaries across all types of hospitals, including those seeing higher shares of poor patients.
Today, MedPAC releases its March 2015 Report to the Congress: Medicare Payment Policy. The report includes MedPAC’s analyses of payment adequacy in fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare and provides a review of Medicare Advantage (MA) and the prescription drug benefit, Part D.
Today MedPAC posted a comment letter to CMS on the list of Medicare quality measures under consideration for use in Medicare’s quality reporting or value-based purchasing programs. This year’s “list of measures under consideration” is a 329-page document listing hundreds of quality and resource use measures. Under the statute, CMS may consider including any of these measures during upcoming rule-making for its quality program. The list does not include the dozens of measures already adopted for Medicare’s quality programs, only potential new measures.