New York, New York, July 5, 2016—A new financial simulation for a novel model of care, called MediCaring Communities, has shown significant Medicare savings for frail older adults who need both medical care and nonmedical support services.
Medicare savings ranged from $269-$537 dollars per person per month, depending on the community, its past patterns, and the pace of change anticipated. The four communities in the simulation were Akron, OH, Milwaukie, OR, Queens, NY, and Williamsburg, VA.
The U.S. could provide much better care for disabled and sick elderly people without exceeding what we now spend, the study shows. The team estimated enrollment and effectiveness of improvements, using local experience and research data.
These findings, from Altarum Institute’s Center for Elder Care and Advanced Illness (CECAI) [now Program to improve Eldercare] in partnership with Dobson DaVanzo & Associates, LLC, were published today in The Milbank Quarterly.
In the model, medical services were reconfigured to improve the experience of frailty in old age, starting with a comprehensive, elder-driven care plan constructed to reflect each older adult’s specific situation, prognosis, and personal priorities. Added to the mix were improvements to ensure that supportive long-term care services were reliable and readily available.
The financial simulation included Medicare beneficiaries with dependencies in two activities of daily living or cognitive impairment necessitating constant attendance.
“This model will be successful if just some of these savings from high-cost medical services are invested in nonmedical in-home support,” said Joanne Lynn, MD, CECAI director. “It should be easier for a disabled elderly person to get home-delivered meals, or for a family caregiver to get a few days relief, than it is for a doctor to prescribe a $10,000 pill. At present, we have our priorities wrong.”
“Programs already exist that could make this happen if CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) allowed it. Accountable Care Organizations and the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) would be terrific foundations for a MediCaring Community,” continued Lynn. “To address the needs of millions of seniors, we must use the next few years wisely, aiming to deliver much more reliable and comprehensive care to high-cost elders—without increasing the costs. Now is the time to take these lessons and use them to change how we help older adults, and bolster programs across the country that will help elder communities thrive in the oncoming ‘age of longevity.’”
Contact: Judith Zimmer [email protected] 212-355-8400
Altarum (www.altarum.org) integrates objective research and client-centered consulting skills to deliver comprehensive, systems-based solutions that improve health and health care. Altarum employs almost 400 individuals and is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with additional offices in the Washington, D.C., area; Portland, Maine; and San Antonio, Texas.
About The Milbank Quarterly
Continuously published since 1923, The Milbank Quarterly features peer-reviewed original research, policy review, and analysis from academics, clinicians, and policymakers. The Quarterly’s multidisciplinary approach and commitment to applying the best empirical research to practical policymaking offers in-depth assessments of the social, economic, historical, legal, and ethical dimensions of health and health care policy. The Milbank Quarterly is published in March, June, September, and December on behalf of the Milbank Memorial Fund by John Wiley & Sons. www.milbank.org/the-milbank-quarterly