But, at this point, health insurers are hazy on how to measure the quality of care for people with dementia, and they are even hazier about how to measure the quality of support for caregivers.
Elizabeth Cahn Goodman, a Massachusetts long-term care policy specialist, summarizes several insurers’ views on measurement of dementia care quality in a paper on insurers’ responses to a request for feedback from the health insurance community.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is holding a two-day meeting on dementia care and support research this week in Bethesda, Maryland, at the headquarters of the National Institutes of Health.
Summit organizers asked for ideas both from health insurers and from other groups of stakeholders, including long-term care providers, people living with dementia, and caregivers for people with forms of dementia other than Alzheimer’s.
Seven insurers responded to the request for feedback from health insurers, Goodman writes.
The insurers all said they have tools they use to measure the health of patients, and how well the patients are functioning, but none reported using those tools to try to measure quality of care.
The insurers expressed skepticism about efforts to develop measures of dementia care quality, partly because of concerns about fuzziness, about whether proposed activities would really matter, and about possible lack of realism about costs.
“The very measures of amount amounts to ‘excellent’ dementia care are nebulous out there, and there is no clear consensus on which population needs are best addressed on a wider scale vs. simply providing care on a case-by-case basis, depending on a patient’s resources, stage of disease, co-morbidities, etc.,” one insurer told the summit organizers.