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30-Day Readmission Rates Fell in 2012

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, March 1, 2013

Blum cited ten other measures of quality improvement in care from other initiatives embedded in the new healthcare reform law. They include:

  1. In the last three years, the growth rate in Medicare spending per beneficiary has dropped "lower than any time over the last 50 years."
  2. Fraud recoveries, in part through the use of new anti-fraud tools have increased to a record $4.2 billion in 2012, and $14.9 billion over the last four years. Some of the effort has meant a shift from "pay and chase" practices after fraud is discovered, to prevention of fraudulent payments in the first place.
  3. Medicare beneficiaries now have access to increased coverage of preventive services and lower cost-sharing for prescription drugs, as well as other benefits.
  4. For the first time, Medicare Advantage plans receive payment according to quality of their coverage. "Since those payment changes went into effect, seniors have been able to choose from a broader range of Medicare Advantage plans, and more seniors have enrolled in higher rated plans.
    Also, the number of plans health plans offer to Medicare eligible seniors is now 26 on average in each county. Since the passage of the ACA in 2010, "Medicare Advantage premiums on average have fallen 10% and enrollment has climbed by an expected 28%" by the end of this year.
  5. Accountable care organizations, or Medicare shared savings plans, are starting to take off with more than 250 ACOs in shared savings agreements with CMS, and in "almost every state." CMS estimates that some 4 million Medicare beneficiaries now receive care through an ACO.
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