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Fixed payments not a barrier to quality of care in HMOs, study finds
Date:7/8/2013

he said. "Now, our data suggest that both quality and patient experiences are higher in Medicare Advantage."

Looking more closely into the different kinds of HMOs, the team found that older, larger, not-for-profit HMOs ranked higher on all measures than smaller, newer, for-profit ones. In fact, when it came to vaccinations and ratings of specialists, the traditional fee-for-service plans ranked higher than the newer, smaller, for-profit HMOs.

One possible explanation for these findings, the authors note in the paper, is that the highly integrated systems characteristic of these older more established health plans may have offset any potential financial incentives to restrict care.

"These findings suggest that, at least for these particular services, managed care does not appear to compromise care," said Ayanian. "The caveat is that we looked at an important but limited set of services. There may be other aspects of care not publicly reported where HMOs are not performing as well."

"As the Medicare Advantage program has expanded, it is important to see what is being bought compared with the traditional Medicare program," said Newhouse, who is a professor of health care policy at HMS and the John D. MacArthur Professor of Health Policy and Management at Harvard University. "With Medicare dollars increasingly constrained by the Affordable Care Act, getting the best value for what we spend becomes ever more critical."


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Contact: Katie DuBoff
katie_duboff@hms.harvard.edu
617-432-3038
Harvard Medical School
Source:Eurekalert

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