June 18, 2007 – The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) recently released its June 2007 Report to the Congress: Promoting Greater Efficiency in Medicare, a document that describes the changing beneficiary profile in Medicare and its preliminary implications for the program and examines several approaches to promote greater efficiency in the Medicare program.
Efficiency should include not only getting more for a set amount of inputs, but getting more effective care. One way the report recommends to do so is to develop information on the comparative effectiveness of alternative treatments. Comparative-effectiveness analysis compares the clinical effectiveness of a service with its alternatives. The report finds that not enough credible, empirically based information is available for providers, patients and payers to make informed decisions about alternative services for diagnosing and treating most common clinical conditions. Moreover, because the information can benefit all users and is a public good, it is under produced by the private sector; a federal role is necessary. Consequently, the Commission recommends that the Congress charge an independent entity to sponsor credible research on comparative effectiveness of health care services and disseminate this information to patients, providers, and public and private payers.
For more information: www.medpac.gov