CMS tests IT to improve care of chronically ill

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has begun a pair of pilots with the goal of improving care for Medicare patients suffering chronic diseases.

The pilots are part of a continuing CMS initiative to encourage physicians to use technology to improve quality of care and reduce medical expenses.

Studies show that care for people with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, hypertension and congestive heart failure, account for a disproportionate share of medical services, said acting CMS administrator Dennis Smith.

What's more, several medical providers often treat these patients without coordinating their care, potentially driving up costs because of duplicative services.

The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 called for the pilots to find ways to cut Medicare costs and improve care for the chronically ill:

  • The Voluntary Chronic Care Improvement Program asks physicians to voluntarily explore ways they can use technological support to manage clinical information and care.

  • The Care Management Performance Demonstration is a three-year, pay-for-performance pilot that pays doctors a bonus if their IT use leads to care of eligible Medicare beneficiaries that exceeds CMS performance standards.

  • About the Author

    Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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