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Tracking the Care of Patients with Severe Chronic Illness The Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care 2008

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Medicare pays many hospitals and their doctors more than the most efficient and effective health care institutions to treat chronically ill people, yet gets worse results, according to a new report from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.

This edition of the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, "Tracking the Care of Patients with Severe Chronic Illness," shows that institutions that give better care can do it at a lower cost because they don't overtreat patients. However, the Atlas documents that Medicare and most other payers encourage the overuse of acute care hospital services and the proliferation of medical specialists thanks to misplaced financial incentives, especially for treating chronically ill people.

This Atlas report proposes new ways of thinking about how to achieve better care coordination and reduce the overuse of acute care hospital services. It offers concrete recommendations on the ways different stakeholders can use the new Dartmouth Atlas data—from choosing the right provider to reforming the U.S. health care system.

Dartmouth Atlas research is made possible in part by grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


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