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Donald Berwick

New Federal Programs Aim to Improve Health Care

For decades, Medicare patients have been falling through the communications cracks as they travel between doctors' offices, hospitals and long-term care facilities for health care services. Oftentimes, only the patients themselves know the full scope of their treatments, lab tests and prescriptions.The result: unnecessary duplication of services, dangerous drug interactions, and costly hospitalization and readmission rates.Former Medicare and Medicaid chief Dr. Donald Berwick , who left his position in December, estimates 20% to 30% of health spending is "waste" that does not benefit patients.Accountable Care Organizations to the RescueThe Affordable Care Act, or ACA, set out in January to correct this expensive and potentially fatal runaround by providing a financial incentive for doctors, hospitals and other health care providers to form collectives called Accountable Care Organizations, or ACOs. A parallel movement led by health insurers also is underway in the private sector.The Me...

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