As part of the new health care law, Medicare beneficiaries may soon benefit from better coordination of care across different health care settings, such as doctor’s offices, hospitals and long-term care facilities. It is hoped that better coordination will not only reduce waste from test duplication but also result in better outcomes for patients.
Beginning in January 2012, doctors’ offices and hospitals that see at least 5,000 Medicare beneficiaries and reach certain health care quality goals will be rewarded with 60 percent of the savings generated, that is, if recently proposed regulations are approved.
“It is probably the most important quality challenge facing the Medicare program: fragmented and uncoordinated care,” said Elliott Fisher, a director at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in an interview with Marketwatch.com. “Any one of us caring for an elderly relative knows how hard it is to keep track of information. You show up in the medical office and they have no information about your mother or father.”