Capsules: CBO Projects Lower Medicare and Medicaid Costs; Urgent Care Centers Opening For People With Mental lllness

Now on Kaiser Health News blog, Mary Agnes Carey reports on the CBO’s latest projections for Medicare and Medicaid: “Reduced costs for medical services and labor have trimmed the 10-year projected cost of Medicare and Medicaid by $89 billion, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. Medicare spending is projected to drop by $49 billion — or less than 1 percent — from 2015 and 2024, while Medicaid spending is expected to drop by $40 billion — or about 1 percent — over the next decade, CBO said in an update to its April forecast” (Carey, 8/27). 

Also on Capsules, Anna Gorman reports on how urgent care centers are opening to treat people with mental illness: “Mental health urgent care centers, also known as crisis stabilization units, are opening throughout California in response to the shortage of psychiatric beds and the increase in patients with mental illnesses showing up at hospital emergency rooms with nowhere else to go, experts and advocates said. In Los Angeles County, four such centers have opened and several more are planned. L.A. County’s mental health director Marvin Southard said the centers are a more effective way to care for many patients with mental illness and are less disruptive to hospitals. And county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who led the effort to open the center, said they are 'more humane' and a smarter approach” (Gorman, 8/28). Check out what else is on the blog.

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