Will Global Payments Make Sue A Cheaper Patient? Please Discuss

Sue Beder

Patient Sue Beder, left, and Senior Whole Health nurse Judy Tremblay (Martha Bebinger/WBUR)

WBUR’s Martha Bebinger has me in suspense. She has just launched her “Most Expensive Patient” series, following Sue Beder of Stoughton, a 65-year-old woman with multiple sclerosis. Sue is one of those super-costly patients who make up just 5% of the population but account for half of the country’s $2.6 trillion annual medical bill.

Now, she has just signed up with an agency that’s aiming to improve her health while cutting costs, by putting her care on an overarching budget instead of paying piecemeal for each service. That’s exactly the sort of plan involved in the second stage of health reform now brewing in Massachusetts. Martha writes: “As more and more patients are covered by global payments, Beder represents the future of health care in Massachusetts. And, if health care on a budget doesn’t work for high-cost patients such as Sue Beder, it may not make sense for any of us.”

Be sure to read the whole story here, and please let us know what you think in the comments section below. My initial reaction: The budgetary side remains to be seen, but for goodness sakes, anything that keeps a patient from needing to call the fire department 40 times a year for help has got to make sense.

Compare spending for Sue Beder: Fee for service vs. Global payment

CLICK TO ENLARGE and compare spending for Sue Beder. (Aayesha Siddiqui for WBUR)

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