At its best, disease management is neither a turf protector for specialists nor a marketing vehicle for drug companies. It's a common-sense approach to unifying care for a condition, and it depends on primary care physicians.
Experts say it won't be long before all clinical data move from paper charts to electronic data bases that can be shared with payers. But you needn't necessarily spend big bucks on new computer systems right away.
Forty-nine states now offer managed care plans to beneficiaries of the 30-year-old federal-state Medicaid program, and statehouses look hopefully to managed care as a way to harness fast-growing Medicaid costs. The Medicaid market offers opportunity for managed care plans, but it poses special challenges, too. Here's what six leaders of the health care community had to say about the Medicaid challenge in a recent round-table discussion.
The health reform law signed by the president in August authorizes a pilot program of tax-free medical savings accounts. MSAs have been touted as an antidote to HMOs, but some say the two are compatible.
Health plans, take note: The National Committee for Quality Assurance will soon be pushing for more data on actual health care outcomes — partly because it, too, is being pushed.
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