Get Connected: The Benefits of Chronic Care Management Services

Beth Chalick-Kaplan, PhD is an Outreach Specialist for Region 3 at CMS

Managing your health while living with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) can be overwhelming. Taking multiple medications, following a special diet, and keeping appointments with different specialists while caring for your family and/or working can be difficult. Healthcare providers can also feel challenged in caring for patients with multiple chronic conditions. They must communicate with one or more specialists, review lab work and reports, create and update plans for care, consider medication and treatment changes, and coordinate patient transitions from one care site to another, or to home. Care coordination work takes significant time and effort. Most of this work is done outside of a face to face office visit. Patients may not be aware of the amount of time it takes to do this work, but it must be done to make sure patients can get high quality, safe, and effective care. Medicare pays providers for the important care management and coordination work they do outside of office visits.

Through the Connected Care campaign, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health and the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy at the Health Resources and Services Administration are raising awareness of the importance of chronic care management (CCM) and coordinated care for patients with chronic conditions like CKD. CCM services help people with Medicare (and those with Medicare and Medicaid) who have two or more chronic conditions to stay on track with their treatment plans and improve their health.

Patients who receive CCM services partner with their participating Medicare provider to create a plan that supports their disease control and health goals. For patients with CKD, a treatment plan might work to lessen potential complications such as hypertension, anemia, mineral and bone disorders, electrolyte disturbances and fluid imbalances. The plan can also include a way to “check in” with your provider more often, without having to travel anywhere. Regular contact can help you and your provider stay on track with your treatments, appointments, and prescriptions. Some patients feel this lessens how often they visit the office in person, giving them more time to do things they enjoy.

You can find out more about Connected Care and chronic care management services at https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/chronic-care-managementservices.html or by calling 1-800-Medicare. Ask your doctor about chronic care management services and get the connected care you need. If you are a community partner or health care provider, visit the Connected Care website at http://go.cms.gov/ccm for additional resources.

This article originally appeared in aakpRENALIFE, March 2018