CBO Report on Medicare Demos Draws Mixed Response

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media , January 23, 2012

The CBO report also identifies three improvements CMS could make in the design and evaluation of the demonstration projects program:

  • Use randomized designs or well-matched comparison groups to identify the effects of any particular intervention, and to identify what strategies are effective.
  • Report evaluation findings quickly and consistently. If demonstrations are meant to be models for practice, the results should be current and comparable.
  • Make sure the number of Medicare beneficiaries in a demonstration project is large enough to yield meaningful results.

Neither CMS or the Department of Health and Human Services provided specific comments on the report findings. In an e-mail statement Erin Shields, director of communications for healthcare at HHS, said: "The Department tests a wide range of demos, not just for cost savings but also for quality improvement.

These demos were started under prior administrations and while not all of these demos have been successful, there are important lessons learned for what works and what doesn't. As the Obama Administration moves forward testing new, stronger payment models in partnership with private industry, we're confident that they will achieve cost savings and quality improvements."

Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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