Medicare initiative is paying off in terms of cost and care, particularly in New Jersey

New Jersey is among seven states nationwide in which Medicare is partnering with health insurance companies in a unique, four-year pilot program aimed at improving the delivery of primary medical care in America. And it's starting to show results: Medicare announced that the Comprehensive Primary Care initiative is having a positive impact on both the cost and the quality of care.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reported that, in the CPC’s first year ended Sept. 30, 2013, hospital admissions decreased 2 percent and emergency department visits 3 percent. Overall, the entire program about broke even on cost: medical spending declined nearly enough to offset the funds Medicare provides to primary care practices to enable them to deliver better-coordinated care to their patients.

In New Jersey, however, the program did better than break-even.

An analysis of the program’s results by the Princeton research firm Mathematica found that both New Jersey and Oklahoma actually saved Medicare money in the first year of the four-year program, which runs through the end of 2016.

In New Jersey, CPC achieved a 3 percent reduction in Medicare spending, after accounting for the additional funds Medicare provided to primary care practices to enable them to move toward providing higher quality, more comprehensive care to their patients. If those extra funds are excluded, New Jersey saved Medicare 5 percent.

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