Monday, August 25, 2014

CMS Succumbs to Disease Management Style Spin?

If, thanks to the medical home or disease management, you've witnessed the improvements in patients' care, you've also probably been frustrated by those silly skeptics' insistence on validation. But for traditional research designs, statistical significance, valid comparators and publication in obscure scientific journals, the face validity of nurse-led care management for high risk patients could have ushered in a new era in primary care.

Darn those academic-actuary-statistician-weenies! And double darn CMS for falling for them and not funding the medical home and disease management!

Which is why Population Health Blog readers may enjoy this bit of peer-review schadenfreude. It appears a recent CMS pronouncement that its own "Partnership for Patients Program" prevented early elective deliveries and reduced readmissions is highly suspect, thanks to "a weak design, a lack of valid metrics, and a lack of external peer review for its evaluation." 


It appears the amateurs at CMS used a pre-post design, selected start and stop evaluation points to gin up the outcomes, relied on imperfect administrative data and never bothered with having its outcomes validated by independent review. As a result, we really don't know if the billion of dollars that went into PPP did any good at all.

The PHB appreciates the point. Scientific discipline and peer review go a long way making sure that consumers are getting their money's worth. Now that CMS has gone from an agnostic payer to the centerpiece of health reform, there's a huge risk that its bureaucrats will succumb to shortcuts and spin.

Taxpayers deserve better.  And so do patients.

Image from Wikipedia

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