Medicare Subvention Demonstration:

DOD's Pilot HMO Appealed to Seniors, Underscored Management Complexities

GAO-01-671: Published: Jun 14, 2001. Publicly Released: Jun 14, 2001.

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This interim report reviews the implementation of the Department of Defense (DOD) Medicare Subvention Demonstration. GAO found that the demonstration sites were successful in operating Medicare managed care plans. Officials put substantial effort into meeting Medicare managed care requirements and, according to Health Care Financing Administration reviewers, were generally as successful as other new Medicare managed care plans in this regard. Most sites reached the enrollment limits they had established for retirees already covered by Medicare. DOD officials indicated that the demonstration's effect was positive. Enrollees received a broader range of services from DOD than in the past, when they got care only when space was available in DOD facilities. Officials also noted that providing more comprehensive care to seniors helped sharpen the skills of military clinical staff, which contributed to their readiness for supporting combat or other military missions. Some challenges encountered in the demonstration reflect larger DOD managed care issues and may have implications for DOD managed care generally. Although access to care was generally good, the demonstration experienced some problems in maintaining adequate clinical staff.

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