Get the Care You Need, When You Need It

By Don Berwick, CMS Administrator

Cross-posted from HealthCare.gov.

Posted October 20, 2011

Your doctors try hard to give you the best care possible, but it can be a challenge to get all the information they need to protect your health.  For people with Medicare, this is particularly important because a significant number of people over age 65 and those with disabilities live with one or more chronic conditions. That is why I’m so pleased with the work we are doing with doctors and hospitals to find ways to improve care and reduce costs.

When doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers are able to work together they provide better, more coordinated health care. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, they can do that by becoming an Accountable Care Organization (ACO).

By taking this step, providers will be able to communicate closely with each other about your health with the goal of delivering better and more coordinated care while meeting your needs and preferences. Doctors will be able to spend more time with patients. And specialists and primary care doctors will communicate more to ensure that you get the care you need.

Medicare will help doctors and hospitals that choose to participate ensure you are getting the right care, in the right place, at the right time.  And if that care coordination lowers costs, doctors and hospitals as well as Medicare can share in the savings – shifting payments toward value rather than volume of care.

Your Medicare benefits will stay the same. You can see still see any doctor or healthcare provider who accepts Medicare – even if your doctor chooses to participate in this program. Nobody – not your doctor, not anyone – can limit your choice on who you see.

If your provider decides to participate, you will be notified. For more information, talk to your doctor or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-8227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.

This is just one of many ways the Affordable Care Act is helping your doctors spend more time with you to help you to stay healthy and to get better.  Learn more here.