Those who are older, lower income, minorities and have chronic conditions are at higher risk for COVID-19.
On June 22, CMS released sought-after Medicare data (Jan 1 to May 16) on beneficiaries’ COVID-19 outcomes that found that more than 325,000 beneficiaries were diagnosed with COVID-19 during that time.
Almost 110,000 were hospitalized, and 28% of those who were hospitalized died. Black people on Medicare have been hospitalized at a rate that is more than four times that of white beneficiaries. Among racial and ethnic groups, black beneficiaries had the highest hospitalization rate, with 465 hospitalizations per 100,000 beneficiaries. Hispanic beneficiaries had 258 hospitalizations per 100,000 people, Asians had 187 hospitalizations per 100,000 beneficiaries and white beneficiaries had 123 hospitalizations per 100,000 beneficiaries, according to Inside Health Policy.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released the findings as part of an effort to develop a fuller national understanding of racial and other disparities in coronavirus infections and hospitalizations. The data shows the need to focus on value-based care, rather than fee-for-service models that don’t focus on quality of care for patients. Medicare has spent $1.9 billion on fee-for-service COVID-19 hospitalizations, or roughly $23,000 per hospitalization, according to CMS.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma said,
Our fee-for-service system is consistently showing itself to be insufficient for our most vulnerable Americans.
Verma also said the U.S. health system needs to be reorientated so that providers are paid based on health outcomes instead of just providing a service. That shift also encourages providers into taking into account social determinants, such as access to food or housing, which can affect health outcomes.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the federal government and some states have been looking to new payment reimbursements that encourage doctors, hospitals and other providers to also address the underlying issues behind health disparities.
The findings by CMS are likely to intensify public and political debate about racial disparities in health care. The pandemic’s growing toll on African-Americans, Hispanics, Native American and Alaskan Native populations has recently been brought into the public eye, which has added to growing awareness over racial inequalities.
Read the full article from Inside Health Policy
Read the full article from Modern Healthcare
Read the full article from The Wall Street Journal
Read the full article on CNN
Read CMS’s full Preliminary Medicare COVID-19 Data Snapshot