Diane Meier: Paying to Keep Seniors Out of the Hospital

In an op-ed published by Politico, CAPC Director Diane Meier, MD makes her case for how smarter economics could make for better medicine for aging patients. In the piece, Meier tells the story of an elderly patient of hers who was frustrated and worn out by repeated emergency room visits and a lack of support at home. Through palliative care interventions, the patient has remained active and out of the hospital. Assuring that more seniors gain access to supportive services like palliative care is top of mind for Meier, and has started to become top of mind for institutions as well.

“Some of it is happening because financial incentives are changing under a Medicare law called MACRA and the Affordable Care Act—and many of these payment shifts are expected to survive Republican efforts to replace Obamacare. Those changed incentives mean health care providers and insurance plans are taking on more financial risk. And when they bear more financial risk, they have more reason to identify the highest need patients and intervene to support them in ways that keep them out of emergency rooms and hospitals,” says Meier.

Meier goes on to breakdown three examples of programs that fall under the Affordable Care Act who are already providing effective care to this growing population and explains how their models are sustainable. Click here to read the full piece.

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