As we cover leadership changes at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), it is worth reflecting on the advancements at the federal agency in recent years – especially its increased focus on health information technology.
The CMS oversees the Medicare and Medicaid programs, but its duties expanded over the past decade to include greater access to health information online, and to spurring technology innovation in the health sector.
Technology was a focus of outgoing Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt’s prepared final remarks to the CMS staff, delivered Thursday morning. Continue reading
Anyone who has started a new reporting job knows the feeling: You want to find some story somewhere on your beat that you can crank out to show you know how to deliver good copy on time.
It’s unlikely that you’re thinking you’ll uncover a big story that turns into a five-part series. But that’s what happened to Megan Hart, a reporter covering health care for KHI News Service in Topeka, Kan. Continue reading
Why are the nuances of Medicare benefits so complicated? While journalists may never find the answer to this question, they can be more aware of this challenge as they shape their reporting.
Medicare’s arcane and overlapping regulations mean consumers often lose or are penalized for benefits for which they are entitled, according to journalist Philip Moeller, who writes about aging and related issues for PBS NewsHour and Money. Continue reading
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services just announced a five-year test, to begin next summer, of a new way to pay for the care of patients who have had a heart attack or need coronary artery bypass graft surgery.
As with any new payment model, unintended consequences are possible. The experimental bundled-payment program, which was announced July 25 and will begin July 1, 2017, potential could lead some physicians to sell their practices to hospitals, be financially risky and potentially harmful to the hospitals forced to participate, and could lead to an increase in heart attacks, warned Francois de Brantes, executive director of the consulting firm Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute and an expert on bundled payment models. Continue reading
In an effort to help consumers get a better handle on drug prices, five U.S. senators — all Democrats — are pressuring the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to be more forthcoming about efforts to contain costs and help seniors cope with the high costs of prescription drugs.
Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) cosigned a letter on Dec. 17 to CMS Acting Administrator Andrew Slavitt, seeking more information on the agency’s efforts to maximize the agency’s existing authorities on prescription drug costs. Continue reading