New Medicare program saves more than $25M

On Thursday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reported that a program serving chronically ill Medicare beneficiaries delivered better care and lower costs in its first year.

Known as the Independence at Home Demonstration, the model provides chronically ill Medicare beneficiaries with primary care services in a home setting, CMS said in a news release. In the first year, 17 participating practices served more than 8,400 Medicare beneficiaries.

CMS said its analysis found that the practices saved more than $25 million in the first performance year — an average of $3,070 per beneficiary — while delivering high-quality patient care.

“These results support what most Americans already want — that chronically ill patients can be better taken care of in their own homes,” CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt said. “This is a great common-sense way for Medicare beneficiaries to get better quality care with smarter spending from Medicare.”

CMS said it will award $11.7 million in incentive payments to nine participating practices that succeeded in reducing Medicare expenditures and met designated quality goals. According to CMS’ analysis, all 17 practices improved in at least three of the six quality measures, and four practices met all six measures.

CMS said Medicare beneficiaries treated by Independence at Home practices, on average:

  • have fewer hospital readmissions within 30 days;
  • have follow-up contact from their provider within 48 hours of a hospital admission, hospital discharge or emergency department visit;
  • have their medications identified by their provider within 48 hours of discharge from the hospital;
  • have their preferences documented by their provider; and
  • use inpatient hospital and emergency department services less for conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, pneumonia or urinary tract infection.

“The Independence at Home Demonstration is part of the innovative framework established by the Affordable Care Act to move our health care system toward one that rewards doctors based on the quality, not quantity, of care they give patients,” CMS said.

The administration earlier this year announced the ambitious goal of tying 30 percent of Medicare payments to quality and value through alternative payment models by 2016 and 50 percent of payments by 2018, the agency said.

Larry Portzline
Larry Portzline covers York County, nonprofits, workforce and education. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at

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