Washington, D.C. -- The American Health
Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) responded
to a bipartisan Senate Finance Working Group document that explores various
policy options on chronic care for Americans. The Association's comments and
suggestions follow a December 18, 2015 request for input from key stakeholders
on how best to increase care coordination, streamline payment systems, and
improve outcomes for the millions of Americans managing chronic illnesses.
issue is of vital importance to AHCA/NCAL, since a majority of the individuals
our members care for have multiple chronic medical conditions -- and the number
is growing rapidly," said Clifton Porter II, Senior Vice President of
Government Relations at AHCA/NCAL. "It's also a major cost driver.
Medicare spending for beneficiaries with chronic conditions is more than $300
billion annually. Per capita Medicare spending for beneficiaries with six or
more chronic conditions is three times higher than for the average beneficiary,"
Mike Cheek, Senior
Vice President for Reimbursement Policy and Legal Affairs, said, "Much can
be learned from past programs aimed at supporting persons with multiple chronic
conditions. We stand ready to offer solutions to this
of the AHCA/NCAL comments include:
In developing new policy solutions, it is essential to distinguish the subgroup of very ill individuals who account for a high percentage of Medicare spending from the much larger population of functional elders with one or two chronic diseases. The very high-cost beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions and dependence upon others for care are a very different population.
The Association strongly recommends that the Work Group investigate how CMS, specifically the Center for Clinical and Quality Standards, could work more closely with stakeholders and providers regarding the development and use of appropriate quality measures for this population.
"We urge a continued careful, thoughtful,
and deliberative process to ensure that final policy recommendations benefit
not only those individuals with chronic medical conditions, but also the
providers that support and care for them," said Porter.