January’s headlines: Hot topics in health care

  • Consumer Reports rates quality of 19 Wisconsin medical groups
  • DHS includes MCO contract on its website
  • Two-thirds of Wisconsin hospitals get Medicare quality bonus
  • Wisconsin’s SeniorCare waiver renewed

Consumer Reports rates quality of 19 Wisconsin medical groups

January Hot Topics in Health CareConsumer Reports magazine recently teamed up with the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ) to rate Wisconsin medical groups and published the data in its December 2012 Consumer Reports issue. Only 19 of over 1,000 medical groups in Wisconsin were ranked.

The ratings include one overall score and seven measures based on data that each provider collects themselves and makes publically available so consumers can make fully informed choices when choosing a health care provider. Overall, all 19 Wisconsin groups had great rankings, all at or above the national average. The overall scores were based on a sampling of quality measures in three categories: cancer screening tests, care for people 60 and older, and treating people with existing heart disease.

ThedaCare Physicians and Marshfield Clinic received the highest overall scores.

Consumer Reports chose to focus on Wisconsin because providers in the state are often high-performing compared to the rest of the country with respect to quality and value. Consumer Reports also selected WCHQ because it is an organization made up of high-performing providers who voluntarily have chosen to measure their performance in certain areas and to make their performance transparent by making results available to the public.

For more information, CLICK HERE.

DHS includes MCO contract on its website

The Department of Health Services’ 2013 contract with long-term care managed care organizations is now up on its website. It includes, among other things, language requiring that contracts with residential providers remain valid for one year. According to Wisconsin Health News, last year providers complained that after signing an agreement, some MCOs came back and reduced rates.

For more information, CLICK HERE.

Two-thirds of Wisconsin hospitals get Medicare quality bonus

According to an analysis by Kaiser Health News, nearly two-thirds of eligible Wisconsin hospitals are receiving a bonus from Medicare due to how they performed on specific quality measures. Medicare is rewarding 1,557 hospitals with more money and reducing payments to 1,427 others, according to Kaiser Health News.

The biggest state bonus is going to Glendale-based Orthopedic Hospital of Wisconsin, which is getting a 0.64% increase in payment for each Medicare payment. Of the 64 qualifying Wisconsin hospitals, 24 will see their payments decrease.

To read more, CLICK HERE.

Wisconsin’s SeniorCare waiver renewed

In early January, Wisconsin Health News reported the state’s SeniorCare waiver has been renewed through 2015. The new waiver makes few changes to the current program, but does include a provision that gives incentives to pharmacists to help patients manage medications.

In a statement announcing the renewal, Governor Scott Walker said the program is a popular and successful program. “It’s important for Wisconsin’s seniors to be able to get the prescription drugs they need at an affordable price,” he said.

In Walker’s last budget he originally called for eligible seniors to sign up for Medicare Part D, but reversed course after the proposal garnered bipartisan opposition.

To read more, visit Wisconsin Health News.



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