New Medicare payment system may open doors for community health
Government officials announced in January a timeline for Medicare’s shift to paying clinicians based on quality of care rather than quantity of services. Our recent KevinMD blog post outlines how this move suggests momentum is building for the potential of integrated, holistic healthcare, which can be inclusive of community-centered health and prevention.
Private insurers will follow Medicare; together, these changes afford the opportunity to better move the country toward an inclusive and comprehensive approach to health and healthcare, and away from a focus on discrete episodes of treatment. We are hopeful this movement will continue, and that community prevention strategies will become an integral part of what is meant when we talk about quality health and healthcare.
Needless to say, the devil will be in the details of how the Medicare policies are implemented, and there is no guarantee of significant change in the way community health efforts are supported. Still, we see this payment shift as an opportunity to widen the focus and conversation on what quality health and health care entails—and that includes community health. We applaud that the government is moving in a direction that better enables the support of true quality.
As Prevention Institute’s Larry Cohen explains on the KevinMD blog:
"To create a true culture of health…we must widen our focus from the individual to encompass the health of communities. We cannot understand a patient’s health needs without considering the context in which she lives, works, plays, and learns. Community environments and related behaviors are the leading factors driving health outcomes, so it’s critical to make space to assess and address these issues in health care settings.
The Community-Centered Health Homes model…does just that by linking high-quality medical care with prevention strategies for improving community conditions. This approach engages doctors, nurses, and the entire health system in understanding the underlying conditions that contribute to poor health in their neighborhoods and cities—and changing those conditions for the better. Addressing the root causes of illness and injury will keep patients healthier in the first place, and support recovery of those who are sick or injured."
Read the rest at KevinMD.