ASA Submits Recommendations to Senate Finance Committee Chronic Care Working Group - American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA)

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ASA Submits Recommendations to Senate Finance Committee Chronic Care Working Group

In response to a Senate Finance Committee letter seeking recommendations on how to improve care for Medicare patients with chronic conditions, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is encouraging the Committee to include chronic pain in discussions on how to improve care and to consider the Perioperative Surgical Home (PSH), a new model of coordinated care, as a way to improve health care delivery.

At a May 15th Senate Finance Committee hearing entitled “A Pathway to Improving Care for Medicare Patients with Chronic Conditions,” Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) announced the formation of a bipartisan Chronic Care Working Group.  Following the hearing, they issued a letter, along with co-chairs of the working group, Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Mark Warner (D-VA), seeking recommendations that will improve care for Medicare patients with chronic conditions. 

In the comment letter, ASA emphasizes the impact chronic pain has on the Medicare program.  Approximately 100 million U.S. adults suffer from chronic pain conditions, more than the number affected by heart disease, diabetes, and cancer combined. These painful conditions cost $560-635 billion annually in direct medical treatment costs and lost productivity, and in 2008 Medicare spent at least $65.3 billion, or 14 percent of all Medicare costs, on pain care.  Given the significant impact chronic pain has on the Medicare program, ASA recommends that the Committee include chronic pain in discussions on how to better coordinate care for chronic conditions.

ASA also discusses the implementation of the PSH as a new model of coordinated care.  The PSH is a patient-centered, innovative model of delivering health care during the entire patient surgical/procedural experience; from the time of the decision for surgery until the patient has recovered and returned to the care of his or her Patient Centered Medical Home or primary care provider. ASA is sponsoring a PSH Learning Collaborative that has engaged 44 hospitals and health systems nationwide to come together to learn from one another and to enable the rapid development of the PSH.  On June 27-28, ASA will host its second annual PSH Summit, which offers a more in-depth look at the PSH model and includes lectures from experts in leading institutions that are currently piloting and developing perioperative surgical homes. 

ASA will continue to monitor the Chronic Care Working Group’s efforts.

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