One myth that has been promulgated has been that care coordination will lead to cost containment. A commentary on this topic (JM McWilliams. NEJM 2016; 375: 2218-20) explains the fallacy of this thinking. While care coordination can improve medical care, “conflating cost containment and care coordination poses many potential dangers.” Good care is worthy goal even in the absence of saving money.
- Care coordination often improves outcomes but typically involve interventions to correct underuse of care
- For every costly complicated prevent, “a care coordination program must manage care for multiple patients…[which] is costly.”
- Early evaluation of care coordination in accountable care organizations (ACOs) have shown the efforts “have meaningfully improved patient experiences but not rates of hospitalizations for ambulatory care-sensitive conditions.” There has not been evidence of fewer readmissions or fewer preventable hospitalizations with care coordination.
- Other strategies to reduce cost are now being targeted, like steering patients to lower-priced providers
My take (from author): “We should coordinate care not to save money but because coordinated care is better care.”