Editor’s note: Each Wednesday, Talk Business & Politics provides “Health Beat,” a round-up health-related topics. –––––––––––––––
CMS WARNS STATE REGULATORS, NURSING HOME OPERATORS OF GROWING SOCIAL MEDIA ABUSE
The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services sent out a memo on Aug. 5 to state agency directors concerning the growing abuse of nursing home patients and residents on social media. The CMS letter discusses the responsibilities of state regulators and nursing home operators to protect residents’ privacy and from abuse by staff taking photographs and recordings in order to demean or humiliate them.
According to CMS, recent media reports have highlighted occurrences of nursing home staff taking unauthorized photographs or video recordings of nursing home residents, sometimes in compromised positions. The photographs are then posted on social media networks or sent through multimedia messages on social media networks. To view the CMS memo, click here.
LARGE EMPLOYEE PROJECT HEALTH BENEFIT COSTS TO HOLD AT 6% IN 2017, STUDY SAYS
Despite skyrocketing specialty pharmacy costs, overall health care benefit cost increases at large U.S. employers are expected to hold steady at 6% again in 2017, according to an annual survey by the National Business Group on Health, a non-profit association of 425 large employers. The Large Employers’ 2017 Health Plan Design Survey, the industry’s first look at health benefit costs and plan design changes for 2017, also revealed that employees will not see major increases to their costs during this year’s open enrollment season.
According to the survey, the 6% increase employers project for 2017 is identical to the increase they would have experienced in each of the past two years had they not made changes to their plan design. However, many employers expect to hold increases to 5% by making some changes to their plans. The survey is based on responses from 133 large U.S. employers offering coverage to more than 15 million Americans. To view the report, click here.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT PAYMENT MODEL CONTINUES TO IMPROVE CARE, LOWER COSTS, CMS SAYS
The Independence at Home Demonstration continues to provide high quality primary care services for chronically ill Medicare beneficiaries in the home setting while saving the Medicare program money, according to a new analysis released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The CMS analysis found that, for the second performance year, Independence at Home participants saved Medicare more than $10 million – an average of $1,010 per beneficiary – while delivering higher quality patient care in the home. CMS will award incentive payments of $5.7 million to seven participating practices that succeeded in reducing spending while improving quality.
In the second performance year, 15 practices served more than 10,000 Medicare beneficiaries. According to the CMS analysis, all 15 practices improved quality from the first performance year in at least two of the six quality measures for the demonstration. Four practices met the performance measures for all six quality measures. For more information on the Independence at Home Demonstration performance year two results, visit this link.