The Disease Management Association of America (DMAA) today joined federal officials in praising the Medicare Health Support (MHS) program\'s exceptional progress in bringing valuable disease and care management services to tens of thousands of Medicare beneficiaries.

\"After only six months, participation in Medicare Health Support validates what we have long known: People living with chronic disease want greater control over their personal health regime and they see value in programs such as MHS to help them do just that,\" DMAA Executive Director Tracey Moorhead said. \"The participation rate announced today by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services represents an outstanding start to this crucial program.\"

CMS announced today that more than 100,000 Medicare beneficiaries are participating in its voluntary MHS disease and care management services pilot, which was authorized by the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003. This effort marks the first-ever national pilot integrating sophisticated care management techniques into the Medicare fee-for-service program. The pilots began coming online between August 2005 and January 2006.

\"CMS Administrator McClellan describes Medicare Health Support as an \'innovative approach to care that represents a key priority for the future of Medicare,\' and we couldn\'t agree more,\" Moorhead said. \"The numbers tell the story--clearly, this is something Medicare beneficiaries want, need and deserve.\"

\"Disease and care management offers the promise of a healthier future for America\'s seniors and cost savings for Medicare,\" Moorhead added. \"With roughly 20 percent of Medicare beneficiaries having five or more chronic condition, but consuming more than two-thirds of program spending, how can we not look to empower patients and their caregivers to better manage these conditions? DMAA looks forward to continuing our work with Secretary Leavitt and Administrator McClellan to establish disease management as a vital component of federal health programs.\"

As further evidence of its commitment to advance these shared goals, the DMAA recently announced the launch of an ambitious project to develop a uniform method for measuring and evaluating outcomes in disease and care management programs. The DMAA, in partnership with other stakeholders, will conduct a survey on assessment methodologies and develop a consensus methodology based upon best practices. Once completed, uniform evaluation standards will enable all purchasers of disease management services to more fully measure the financial and clinical returns on their investment.

Founded in March 1999 and based in Washington, D.C., the DMAA is a non-profit, voluntary membership organization that represents all aspects of the disease management community.