Private fee-for-service Medicare Advantage plans tend to score lower on quality measures than other types of Advantage plans, according to a report presented at the Medicare Payment Advisory Commissions November meeting.
Data from the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set, or HEDISa performance-measurement system developed by the National Committee for Quality Assurance, and Medicares Health Outcomes Surveythe first patient-reported outcomes measure used in Medicare managed care, were used to conduct the research. MedPAC researchers found that the private plans on average scored lower than PPOs or HMOs on selected HEDIS performance measures for breast-cancer screening and glaucoma screening in older adults.
Researchers also concluded that older plansthose that entered Medicare before 2004had better average scores on most measures than newer plans. In general, the older plans were better at screening and outcome measures, although the newer plans were more efficient in monitoring persistent use of certain medications.
In other business, MedPAC voted on a series of recommendations that would place new requirements on the disclosure of financial relationships between drug manufacturers, devicemakers, physicians and other providers. One recommendation would establish a new federal reporting law where all manufacturers of drugs, biologicals, medical devices and suppliers and their subsidiaries would submit to HHS their financial relationships with various providers.
Manufacturers under the recommendations would also have to report their relationships with pharmacists, pharmacy benefit managers and health plans, in addition to information on drug samples. Such information would be posted on a public Web site. -- by Jennifer Lubell