Medicare will be joining Medicaid and private insurers in a new demonstration project to improve the way healthcare is delivered, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced.
Sebelius, joined by Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas and White House Office of Health Reform Director Nancy-Ann DeParle at a news conference, said this new partnership between the public and private payers will be based on a model of primary-care delivery that's currently being tested in Vermont.
Under this model, private insurers work in cooperation with Medicaid to set uniform standards for advanced primary-care models, also known as medical homes. The goal is to give incentives to doctors to spend more time with their patients and offer better-coordinated, higher-quality medical care. According to HHS, this demonstration marks the first time Medicare will participate as a full partner in these experiments, where the practice model would align compensation offered by all insurers to primary-care physicians.
“When Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance companies coordinate their efforts, we can improve the quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries. As we have seen in Vermont, improved efficiencies in the system mean doctors can spend more time with their patients, provide high quality care and better coordinate that care with other medical professionals,” Sebelius said.