PFCD Hill Briefing Welcomed Rep. Bill Cassidy, Addressed Medicaid “Hot Spots” as Key to Bending Cost Curve

May 31, 2012

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) hosted a Capitol Hill briefing today that focused on innovative programs working to improve solvency in the Medicaid program by focusing on the program’s high-cost utilizers – or “hot spots.” The briefing, entitled “Understanding and Addressing “Hot Spots” Critical to Bending the Medicaid Cost Curve,” brought together an array of the PFCD members, key Hill staff, media and a wide range of public and private sector organizations.

Panelists included PFCD Chairman Ken Thorpe; Matt Salo, Executive Director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors; Mary Kay Owens, R.Ph., C.Ph.,Executive Director for the Institute for Healthcare Innovation Strategies; and Michelle Martin, Director of Center for Best Practices, Medicaid Health Plans of America.

Today, 84 cents of every dollar spent in Medicaid goes to treating often preventable and highly manageable chronic diseases including diabetes, asthma, and hypertension.  Currently about 5 percent of Medicaid beneficiaries account for more than half of what Medicaid spends.  This concentration of costs – closely linked to poor health status and the presence of one or more chronic conditions – signals a clear opportunity to both lower costs and improve health outcomes.

With this in mind, the event panelists addressed Medicaid’s high-cost “hot spots,” innovative programs working to address the issue, challenges to broader implementation and policy implications for Medicaid reform. Speakers reaffirmed that as policymakers look to manage costs within Medicaid and other healthcare programs, understanding both these patterns in cost and what works to address them offers a fresh perspective on effective ways to bend the cost curve.

Through collaboration and innovative programs, we have the ability to both reduce the health care “hot spots” that contribute to higher costs and ultimately, improve the health of the one in two Americans currently battling a chronic disease. We look forward to hosting more events aimed at spotlighting innovative ways to improve the landscape of health care in our country.  Stay tuned for upcoming dates and topics!