HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Friday, March 15, 2013

Adventures in Health Care Cost Cutting

Expect to keep hearing more talk about health care cost cutting, despite charts like this. It's an idee fixe of the Wall Street/Washington corridor, and will only be implemented more vigorously over time.  So perhaps we should take stock of a few cost cutting initiatives. Medicare Part D, it seems, is coming way under its projected budget.  But maybe that's because of "a sharp fall in the number of breakthrough drugs," a sign that innovation in pharma is stalling.  Cost cutting triumph, or logical outgrowth of a system that fails to reward actual contributions to health?

There's also been a lot of pressure on skilled nursing facilities to hold the line on costs.  What are we getting in return? Here's a summary from OIG

Skilled nursing facilities (SNF) are required to develop a care plan for each beneficiary and provide services in accordance with the care plan, as well as to plan for each beneficiary’s discharge. . . For 37 percent of stays, SNFs did not develop care plans that met requirements or did not provide services in accordance with care plans. For 31 percent of stays, SNFs did not meet discharge planning requirements. . . . [R]eviewers found examples of poor quality care related to wound care, medication management, and therapy. These findings raise concerns about what Medicare is paying for. They also demonstrate that SNF oversight needs to be strengthened to ensure that SNFs perform appropriate care planning and discharge planning.

I'm sure the health care cost cutters will use this evidence to demand the SNFs be paid even less---rather than, say, investing real funding in proper training and pay in this vital service sector.  At some point, though, costs get cut so much that Medicaid will become little more than a meaningless plastic card, and "SNF" will stand for "Scarce Nursing Forever." 

[FP]

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/healthlawprof_blog/2013/03/adventures-in-health-care-cost-cutting.html

| Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:

http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341bfae553ef017ee95b809a970d

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Adventures in Health Care Cost Cutting:

Comments

Post a comment