A joint report from research groups Community Catalyst and the Center for American Progress recommends a series of ways to improve care and lower costs for the 8.8 million Americans who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid (PDF)
, referred to as “dual eligibles.”
Released in conjunction with a discussion at the Kaiser Family Foundation, the report said the states and federal government should adhere to five principles to ensure that states can manage Medicare and Medicaid funds more efficiently while providing better care for low-income, elderly and disabled individuals. These include starting with a well-designed healthcare delivery system; ensuring strong beneficiary protections; engaging dual eligibles and their families in program design; ensuring that combined Medicare and Medicaid funds enhance care delivery; and establishing a culture of quality improvement.
“In addition to the payments to states for care of dual eligibles, the federal government should develop options for providing start-up support tied to specific investments, thus allow both flexibility and accountability in the use of Medicare funds,” the report said.
To improve quality, the study suggested making performance data “publicly available in plain language” to dual elgibles and their families, as well as collecting and stratifying data by race, ethnicity, primary language, disability and gender in an effort to identify health disparities.
The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute based in Washington. Community Catalyst, a national, not-for-profit advocacy organization, is based in Boston.