New program aims to fix broken healthcare system

In addition to providing all Americans with access to affordable, quality care, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) aims to fix America's unstable healthcare system by improving care and cutting costs. 

So the healthcare reform law created the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) to fix the broken system by conducting experiments in states to change how doctors and hospitals are paid via bundled networks, reports MedCity News.

The main idea behind the CMMI is to determine whether investment in coordination of nurses, computers, medical tests and new payment methods would actually save more in unnecessary costs--unnecessary medical tests and procedures contribute to 20 percent of healthcare expenses.

And while the center has put its 10-year, $10 billion budget to use--the Johns Hopkins University received $19.9 million to improve care for East Baltimore's chronically sick and mentally ill--skeptics aren't sure its really effective.

"While I certainly appreciate innovation in the delivery of healthcare, the CMMI is just another big government bureaucracy created [by the ACA] that costs billions and duplicates other efforts," Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who serves on the Senate Finance Committee, told MedCity News through a spokesman.

Despite the funding, other critics worry the CMMI does not have the necessary resources to perform sufficiently. The growing staff of 265 must administer accountable care organizations and manage grants and other reimbursement tests that encourage a high quality of care at a lower cost.

But supporters profess optimism for the program and do not deem it wasteful--the program receives $1 billion every year while the ACA dishes out $1 trillion each year on Medicare and Medicaid, according to the article.

However, the CMMI has yet to disclose information regarding savings and other conclusions, noting it's too early to publish the results during the early stages of the experiments.

For more:
- here's the MedCity News article