Letter Calls for Network To Share Medicare, Medicaid Patient Data

A group of health policy experts has signed an open letter calling on the federal government to support the development of a network to share clinical data on Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, Government Health IT reports.

The health policy experts argue that such a network would help improve medical knowledge and cut costs.

According to the letter, state governments and the private sector should join the federal government to fund the proposed network.

The signers of the letter include:

  • Janet Corrigan, president and CEO of the National Quality Forum;
  • Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund;
  • Lynn Etheredge, a consultant and former health policy leader at the White House Office of Management and Budget;
  • Kenneth Kizer, architect of the Department of Veterans Affairs' electronic health record system; and
  • Margaret O'Kane, president of the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

Dual Eligibles

Etheredge said the network initially should focus on data on low-income elderly patients whose are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.

According to Etheredge, dual eligibles often are excluded from clinical trials, and as a result, little is known about how to best treat their conditions.

He added that because dual eligibles with multiple chronic health conditions account for a disproportionally large percentage of government health spending, such a network could significantly cut the country's rising health care costs (Ferris, Government Health IT, 3/18).  

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