Medicare Thinks About Fracture Prevention!
Medicare is considering a strategy proven to prevent second fractures. Private Insurance plans Kaiser and Geisinger are preventing fractures, saving million$$, saving lives, and preventing patient suffering. These private initiatives have been in place for years. They have been copied in other countries. Medicare now considers doing the same.
This project comes out of the National Bone Health Alliance, a 32 member group of physician organizations, patient advocacy groups, pharmaceutical companies and others working with NIH and FDA. This “public-private partnership” is the result of over 10 years advocating for government support in identifying increased fracture risk and treating osteoporosis.
The basic idea is to prevent the second fracture by recognizing that the first fracture is often a Fragility Fracture. Even our “Take Control Naturally” basics of Calcium Citrate and enough Vitamin D are too often neglected by doctors and patients alike.
The proven method is a Fracture Liaison Service staffed by a nurse or Nurse Practitioner who visits every fracture patient in hospital. Full Bone Health Evaluation is scheduled for every fracture patient so that appropriate treatment can begin. Fracture patients seen in ER or office are also evaluated and treated.
Medicare does not pay for Fracture Liaison Services. Therefore neither do most insurance plans other than HMOs. Hospitals and physicians offering these services currently do so at a loss.
Now Medicare is willing to pay for fracture prevention in locations chosen for this 3 year demonstration project. Maybe some day Fracture Prevention will be paid for everywhere!
Jay Ginther, MD