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Payments to hospitals that adhere to “meaningful use” standards for implementing health information technology seem to be working. Medicare and Medicaid offer incentive payments to hospitals that use health IT under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, aka “the stimulus.” The percentage of U.S. hospitals adopting health IT rose from 16 percent to 35 percent from 2009 to 2011, according to a survey by the American Hospital Association.... Knee replacement surgeries have more than doubled in the last 10 years, according to a study by the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Of people 50 and older, 4.7 percent have had knee replacement.... Medicare Advantage beneficiaries with diabetes see their doctors more often and the emergency room less than diabetes patients in the Medicare fee-for-service program, according to a report in Health Affairs. “Medicare Advantage Chronic Special Needs Plans Boosted Primary Care, Reduced Hospital Use Among Diabetes Patients” shows that health plans “have played a leadership role in bringing programs to the delivery system that are helping patients get appropriate follow-up care and avoid preventable hospital readmissions and emergency room visits,” says Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, which helped conduct the study.

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