Washington, D.C. – During a hearing today on improving health quality and patient safety, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Ranking Member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee questioned claims made by the Administration on health care savings. Enzi urged Congress to focus on substantive changes that can really improve patient care instead of providing funding to encourage providers to do what they should already be doing.
“The Partnership for Patients program initiative is providing funding to encourage providers to do the very things they should already be doing for their patients,” Senator Enzi said. “I see very little evidence that it will actually change the fundamental problems that exist in the current system. So that we can have a more honest debate about the merits of this program, I will be writing a letter to the Chief Medicare Actuary, Richard Foster, later today, asking that he provide me with a real estimate of how much money this program will actually save.”
Senator Enzi noted that the Administration has claimed that the Partnership program will save up to $10 billion for the Medicare program over the next three years. In fact, the Office of Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) confirmed that it has not done an actual estimate of the budget impact of this program.
“Making claims based on non-existent numbers and assumptions would be like assuming I would grow to 6’4 and be able run the 40 in 4 seconds flat and therefore be able to be a starting linebacker for the Redskins. It’s not going to happen. I’m pretty sure that these numbers aren’t going to happen, especially when they’re based on assumptions like that,” said Enzi.
The Partnership for Patients program will spend $1 billion dollars to provide funding to hospitals to reduce the number of patients readmitted to hospitals to treat the same or related conditions. Enzi said these funds are giving hospitals more money to do what they should already be doing. Enzi advocates changing current payment systems to create real incentives for health care providers to improve the quality of care for patients.