Stay ahead of developments in federal and state health care law, regulation and transactions with timely, expert news and analysis.
Sept. 8 — The CMS is committed to reducing health-care disparities in certain Medicare populations within four years, the agency said Sept. 8.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said its Equity Plan focuses on overcoming health-care disparities in groups experiencing disproportionately high rates of disease, lower quality of care and barriers to accessing care. The plan specifies six priority areas to reduce disparities among racial, ethnic, sexual and gender minorities; the disabled; and rural beneficiaries.
Judith Stein, executive director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy, a beneficiary rights group, told Bloomberg BNA in a Sept. 8 e-mail that the organization “is delighted to see CMS moving to actively study, remove and monitor barriers to heath care for people who have been underserved in the health insurance and delivery system.”
Acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt said in a Sept. 8 statement the plan is part of the agency's efforts to create a health-care system that provides better care, spends dollars more wisely and creates healthier people.
The initiative is the “first CMS plan to address health equity in Medicare,” according to the statement. The CMS Office of Minority Health announced the CMS Equity Plan for Improving Quality in Medicare at a Baltimore conference on health equity Sept. 8.
• expand the collection, reporting and analysis of standardized data;
• evaluate the impact of disparities and integrate equity solutions across CMS programs;
• develop and disseminate promising approaches to reduce disparities;
• increase the ability of the health-care workforce to meet the needs of vulnerable populations; and
• improve communication and language access for individuals with limited English proficiency and people with disabilities.
In addition, the plan calls for an increase in the physical accessibility of health-care facilities.
Cara James, the director of the CMS Office of Minority Health, said in the statement the plan is needed because health-care equity is “often the forgotten core area of focus for ensuring that the health system is meeting patient needs and delivering high quality care.”
Announcement of the Equity Plan comes as the CMS is trying to shift more Medicare payments away from the traditional fee-for-service model to a payment model that accounts for care quality and value. In January, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell announced goals and a timeline to move the Medicare program, and the health-care system at large, toward paying providers based on the quality, rather than the quantity, of care they provide.
Institutionalizing the activities described in the plan will ensure the CMS continues to address health-care equity, “especially as new insurance and care models emerge—and federal leadership changes,” Stein said.
However, the Equity Plan should be considered in light of other agency initiatives, such as increasing beneficiary cost sharing and “limiting coverage for prostheses and other home and community-based services,” Stein told Bloomberg BNA.
To contact the reporter on this story: Michael D. Williamson in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Janey Cohen at firstname.lastname@example.org
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)