April 13, 2017
The secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services says better payment options might help prevent doctor “burn-out.” Also, Medicare releases its data showing geographic differences in spending.
Doctors should step up and recommend more payment alternatives to fee-for-service Medicare, the HHS secretary said April 11. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said innovative payment models could work better than fee-for-service Medicare and might stop doctors from leaving the profession at middle age because they feel “burned out.” (Yochelson, 4/12)
In 2015, Hawaii spent $6,608 per traditional Medicare beneficiary, but Mississippi spent $10,700. Nationwide, Medicare per capita costs amounted to $9,582, CMS data released Tuesday show. Why the difference? Medicare spending, utilization and quality vary widely across states, a phenomenon that is longstanding but remains poorly understood. These fluctuations by geography do not seem to reflect beneficiaries’ health, the CMS noted in its methodology document for the data, which are released annually in what is formally known as the Geographic Public Use File. (Whitman, 4/12)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations.