Health innovations take a year to show cost results

Summary:The timeframe of the Obama administration's experiments with controlling healthcare costs drew disbelief from congressional lawmakers concerned about higher costs.

The Obama administration’s experiments at controlling healthcare costs could take up to a year to produce results -- frustrating congressional lawmakers eager to know if new innovations in care delivery will actually work. Reuters reports.

At the Senate Finance Committee hearing on Wednesday, Richard Gilfillan at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said three-dozen models involving 50,000 healthcare providers and more than 1 million beneficiaries are currently being tested (pictured).

Congress created the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation to test “innovative payment and service delivery models to reduce program expenditures… while preserving or enhancing the quality of care” for individuals who receive Medicare, Medicaid, or Children’s Health Insurance Program benefits.

The innovations range from fixed rates for specific medical conditions to patient-centered medical homes. Here’s an interactive map of Innovation Models throughout the country.

Interim results will be shared with Congress within the year, and recommendations for payment or peer changes will be given within the next two.

This timeframe drew some disbelief from senators concerned about higher healthcare costs brought by President Barack Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act heading towards full implementation on January 1, 2014.

Reform advocates see this as a path toward reining in healthcare cost growth for government programs and private-sector consumers across the $2.8 trillion U.S. healthcare industry.

But a growth of 7 percent is forecasted for next year… when healthcare costs have been growing at a historically low annual rate of around 4 percent over the last three years, heightening the prospect that government healthcare spending will accelerate as Congress focuses on ways to reduce the federal deficit.

[From Reuters]

Image: Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation

This post was originally published on

Topics: Innovation


Janet Fang has written for Nature, Discover and the Point Reyes Light. She is currently a lab technician at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. She holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter.

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