MediCaring Communities Proposal Shows Substantial Savings in Medicare Costs

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–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) 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.’”

About Altarum Institute

Altarum Institute (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

Contacts

The Milbank Quarterly
Judith Zimmer, 212-355-8400
jzimmer@milbank.org
or
Altarum
Institute
Ken Schwartz, 202-772-5062
ken.schwartz@altarum.org