ACO roundup: Meal delivery may curb health care costs for dual eligibles, study finds

Key accountable care news from the past week

  • Meal delivery may curb health care costs for dual eligibles, study finds. Delivering meals to residents eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare may curb health care spending, according to a study in Health Affairs. For the study, the researchers assessed data for dual eligibles residing in Massachusetts who received either medically tailored or nontailored meal delivery for at least a six-month continuous period. The researchers found that the estimated medical spending per month for individuals receiving medically tailored meals was $843, compared with $1,413 for non-participants, while the estimated spending for individuals receiving nontailored meals was $1,007, compared with $1,163 for nonparticipants. In addition, the researchers found that individuals receiving either medically tailored or nontailored meals had fewer ED visits and less use of emergency transportation when compared with nonparticipants, and those receiving medically tailored meals also had fewer inpatient admissions.

  • Study: Readmission rates may not capture hospital quality. The 30-day readmission rates hospitals submit to CMS for patients with certain conditions—including heart failure, heart attack, and pneumonia—may not fully capture hospitals' overall care quality, according to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine. For the study, researchers compared CMS' excess readmission rates between 2013 and 2014 across three patient groups: Medicare beneficiaries admitted for heart failure, heart attack, and pneumonia; patients covered by a non-Medicare plan; and Medicare beneficiaries admitted for conditions other than heart failure, heart attack, and pneumonia. According to the researchers, 29% of hospitals that are currently penalized under CMS' readmissions program would not be penalized if CMS assessed readmission rates other than those for heart failure, heart attack, and pneumonia, and 40% of currently penalized hospitals would not be penalized if CMS assessed readmission rates for those same conditions among non-Medicare patients.

  • Meet the new CMMI director: Former Landmark Health CEO Adam Boehler. HHS Secretary Alex Azar has tapped Adam Boehler, the founder and former CEO of the home-based medical care company Landmark Health, to serve as the next deputy administrator and director of CMSCenter for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). Boehler is slated to take over as CMMI's deputy administrator and director beginning this week.

From Advisory Board:

  • State of the Union: The next wave of health care reform. Join us on Tuesday, April 24 at 1:00 p.m. ET, to get the most up-to-date analysis on the future of health care reform and get our latest guidance on how hospital and health system leaders should proceed amid uncertainty.

Register Here

  • How to develop a comprehensive opioid response strategy. Join us on Monday, April 30 at 3:00 p.m. ET, to learn how to establish a comprehensive, proactive approach to combating the opioid crisis and the data-driven framework and key performance indicators that will help you track your progress in this ongoing effort. 

Register Here

  • Transform your business model for Medicaid risk. Join us on Tuesday, May 15 at 1:00 p.m. ET, to learn how, with the increased financial flexibility of Medicaid risk, health systems can adapt their existing care management infrastructure to better manage the Medicaid population.

Register Here


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