PRESIDENTíS PLAN TO STRENGTHEN AND MODERNIZE MEDICARE
FOR THE 21st CENTURY
5. Improving Medicare Management, Including Public/Private Advisory Boards
Overview: The Presidentís plan includes a major modernization reform of the management of the Health Care
Financing Administration (HCFA) which oversees Medicare. These proposals, which are included in the Presidentís FY
2000 budget along with others such as reforming the regional and central office relationships, are designed to better
integrate private sector experiences and practices into the Medicare program. These efforts will also allow HCFA to
better and more efficiently manage its increasing workload while improving the already high level of service and
quality of care for our beneficiaries.
a. Increasing accountability through public/private advisory boards
Policy: HCFA will improve its services and increase its accountability. It plans to establish three
key private/public advisory panels to help in this effort.
- Management Advisory Council. Private and public sector experts will help HCFA identify, adapt, and adopt
innovations in customer service, purchasing, and management. The Council will help HCFA improve service and
strengthen accountability by creating a conduit to private sector expertise and holding public meetings to air
Medicare management issues.
- Medicare Coverage Advisory Committee. Experts in medicine and science, along with consumer and industry
representatives, will help guide a new open, understandable, and predictable process for determining whether
treatments and devices should be covered by Medicare. The Committee and new open process will improve service and
strengthen accountability by holding public meetings, setting timetables, and posting information on pending coverage
issues on the Internet.
- Citizens Advisory Panel on Medicare Education. Experts in medicine, health policy, and consumer education
would help make sure beneficiaries have timely, understandable and useful information about their rights and options
in Medicare. The Panel will improve service and strengthen accountability by establishing a public forum for
continual feedback on how education efforts are faring and what should be done to improve them.
b. Increasing personnel flexibility
Policy: HCFA has made new and significant strides in hiring highly qualified professionals with
private sector backgrounds. However, HCFA needs greater personnel flexibility to have the right staff to stay on top
of changes in the rapidly evolving health care marketplace, to increase its purchasing expertise, and to hold staff
accountable for results. HCFA has contracted with independent experts to evaluate staffing needs and how well HCFA
staff currently meets those needs. Their findings will help determine exactly what legislative or other changes are
needed to make sure the right people are in the right places to ensure beneficiaries have access to high quality
health care services.