Better Kidney Care Act
Improving Coordinated Care
Coordinated care means that each health care provider serving a patient shares information with one another in a timely manner about the patient’s health, treatments prescribed, and care delivered to him or her. Research has shown that coordinated care is helpful in improving the health of people with chronic conditions and in lowering their health care costs. Care coordination is most effective when patients are empowered to be active participants in managing their disease along with their care providers.
Improving coordination among health care providers is necessary to improve the quality of care patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) receive. Most people with CKD also suffer from other chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease, making their care more complicated. CKD patients often need to see multiple health care providers and take many medications, particularly in the later stages of the disease. Care coordination reduces duplicative services, allows for the whole patient to be cared for and treated rather than just the specific disease, and can improve patients’ overall health and quality of life.
Recently, CMS released data showing that an ESRD specific ACO (Accountable Care Organization), also known as the ESRD Seamless Care Organizations (ESCOs), were able to save $75 million in Medicare spending by coordinating care.
Every ESCO (13 of 13) achieved savings.
In fact, 12 of the 13 ESCOs that contracted with the agency for the five-year project met the higher threshold for shared savings—one received as much as $12.3 million.
An estimated 650,000 Americans undergo dialysis to treat ESRD. These patients represent approximately 1.2 percent of the Medicare population but account for 6.3 percent of Medicare spending, which totals more than $30 billion. By giving providers better tools to coordinate care for treatment of kidney disease, patients would see better outcomes and the overall cost of care to Medicare will decline.