DSM association supports House Medicare reform legislation

Sunday, July 20, 2003

July 21, 2003

WASHINGTON - The Disease Management Association of America (DMAA) recently announced its support of the House Medicare Prescription Drug and Modernization Bill (HR 1) with good reason: The proposed legislation would not only provide prescription drug benefits to U.S. seniors but also offer disease state management benefits.

States Robert Stone, President of DMAA: “In less than a decade disease management pioneers have demonstrated the basic value of disease management to both improve patient quality of life while reducing the total cost of care. We now need to reach out to our legislators to insure that the final Medicare modernization legislation sent to the president provides access to disease management services for all Medicare beneficiaries."

The Disease Management Association of America has long advocated that Medicare modernization legislation grant the HHS Secretary authority to provide disease management programs for all Medicare beneficiaries suffering from certain chronic diseases. As the nation's population ages, the number of chronically ill Medicare beneficiaries is expected to grow dramatically. Currently, Medicare beneficiaries with certain chronic diseases account for a disproportionate share of Medicare expenditures - approximately 20% of the nation's Medicare population accounts for nearly 80% of the total costs, according to the Disease Management Association of America.

Typically, beneficiaries with the major chronic conditions - diabetes, congestive heart failure, or COPD, receive fragmented care from multiple health providers at multiple health care facilities. This disjointed nature of health care is confusing for beneficiaries and their families, increasing the risk of hospitalization and disability, according to the Disease Management Association of America.

By coordinating patient care, DSM providers can help reduce the risk of these problems and in turn reduce healthcare costs, claim DMS advocates.