Calling your attention to the following stories, which are moving in advance and will be available for immediate use at 9 a.m. EDT Wednesday. They are the latest offerings in the AP's ongoing series about implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
The accompanying chart provides state-by-state information about health care spending and provides members a starting point for localizations. The AP-Illinois is among a number of state bureaus writing state-focused sidebars. The Illinois glance lists the organizations participating in programs to serve the state's residents.
For members considering their own sidebars or localized versions, here are some suggested angles to pursue: Why is the cost trend as it is within your state? Are there are any regions where costs are rising more rapidly than others? If so, why? Are any local hospitals, insurers or medical groups experimenting with ways to reduce costs? If so, what are they and how have they worked so far?
HEALTH OVERHAUL-CONTAINING COSTS
SALEM, Ore. — Oregon health officials are concentrating on coordinating services and preventing hospital stays. New Jersey medical centers are rewarding doctors who can save money without jeopardizing patient care. And Massachusetts is expanding the role of physician assistants and nurse practitioners. As states work on implementing the complex federal health care reforms, some have begun tackling an issue that has vexed employers, individuals and governments at all levels for years — the rapidly rising costs of health care. The success of models that are beginning to emerge across the country ultimately will determine whether President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act can make good on its name. It's too early to tell what will work and what won't, but states, insurers and medical groups are experimenting with a variety of programs to contain costs without undermining care. These test runs come as millions of new patients will gain eligibility for health insurance under the federal law, putting additional pressure on the system. By Jonathan Cooper.
— BC-US--Health Overhaul-Containing Costs-Glance — A listing of per capita health care expenditures and average annual percentage growth in health care costs, by state.
HEALTH OVERHAUL-CONTAINING COSTS-ILLINOIS
CHICAGO — Hospitals and doctors serving tens of thousands of Illinois patients are taking part in an ambitious program under President Barack Obama's health law that's designed to change financial incentives, save Medicare money and improve patient health. They've formed "accountable-care organizations," or networks of providers who agree to manage the care of at least 5,000 Medicare patients for at least three years. After receiving the federal designation, these networks can share in any savings with the government if they find ways to eliminate repeat tests, keep patients healthy, reduce unneeded hospital visits and otherwise hold down health care costs. By AP Medical Writer Carla K. Johnson.
— BC-IL--Health Overhaul-Containing Costs-Illinois Glance — More than 200,000 Illinois Medicare patients are getting their health care needs coordinated by federally designated accountable-care organizations. A list of seven ACOs based in Illinois and another six based in other states but serve some Illinois patients.