Forum Session

Medicare Health Support: Working with Physicians?
October 21, 2005


Lisa Sprague, MBA


In August 2005, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched a pilot program called Medicare Health Support (MHS) that will offer certain Medicare beneficiaries with chronic conditions a smorgasbord of education, self-management, and care coordination services. CMS has entered into cooperative agreements with MHS organizations (many known as disease management firms in the private sector) to provide these services. The program’s goal is to provide better health and quality of life for beneficiaries and to create savings for Medicare. This Forum session considered the program’s objectives, strategies, and performance yardsticks; it also examined physicians’ roles in and reactions to the program. Particular attention was paid to how MHS organizations would treat comorbid conditions, such as depression, in addition to the targeted chronic conditions.


Sandra M. Foote, ScM, Senior Advisor, Chronic Care Improvement, Center for Medicare Management, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; Kimberly S. Yarnall, MD, Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Community and Family Medicine, Duke University Medical Center; Vincent J. Bufalino, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Midwest Heart Specialists; Michael Schoenbaum, PhD, Health and Labor Economist, RAND Corporation

Slides from the presentations by Ms. Foote, Dr. Yarnall, Dr. Bufalino, and Dr. Schoenbaum are available for download.

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