Three things you should know this week

September 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

Articles, commentary, research, and more from the past week:

Another argument for changing the CMS “star” system
The Health Affairs Blog determined that the CMS “star” system, which rates Medicare Advantage plans, presents serious challenges to organizations that focus on low-income populations. The publication calls for changes to the ratings system to “appropriately reward efforts by plans that focus on low income populations to achieve better results for beneficiaries and to recognize plan achievements in health disparities.”

Earlier this year, Lawrence Gottlieb, MD, MPP, Chief Quality Officer for Commonwealth Care Alliance, argued on Dually Noted that dual-eligible and special needs plans need their own CMS star ratings system.

Boston boasts lowest uninsured rate among America’s biggest cities
The Health Care for All blog presents Census data for 2013 showing that Boston has the lowest rate of people without health insurance among the country’s 25 most populous metropolitan areas. According to the Census, Boston’s uninsured rate was less than 5%. (See chart below.) Overall, the Census found that 42 million Americans – or 13.4% of the population – lacked health coverage in 2013.

Uninsured rate

Seniors in the ER are often malnourished
A report published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine found that many seniors who show up in emergency rooms are malnourished. Researchers found that malnutrition often goes hand-in-hand with seniors who show symptoms of depression. Malnutrition was also evident in seniors who had “difficulty buying groceries, and those who said they had trouble eating because of denture problems, pain, or difficulty swallowing.”

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