Dr David Blumenthal: Managed Care Needed for High-Need, High-Cost Patients

David Blumenthal, MD, MPP, president of The Commonwealth Fund, believes that managed care has lost some of its focus and he would like to see more attention paid to holistic management of care for the frailest, sickest patients.

David Blumenthal, MD, MPP, president of The Commonwealth Fund, believes that managed care has lost some of its focus and he would like to see more attention paid to holistic management of care for the frailest, sickest patients.

Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

What do you expect to see change in managed care in the next 20 years?

The definition of managed care is changing, and what we thought of as managed care, when managed care became a popular term about 20-25 years ago, has a little bit lost its focus. Many, many things have come under the rubric of managed care. For me, managed care means exactly what the term says: it means care that's carefully orchestrated, carefully coordinated, carefully fine-tuned for individuals.

And I think that as we look forward over the next 20 years, given demographic patterns, I hope we'll see much more attention to the holistic management of care for the frailest, sickest, most compromised patients and citizens in our country. I think the management of care for, what we call at The Commonwealth Fund, "high-need, high-cost patients" should be a theme that over the next 20 years gets increasing attention and at which we become really, really expert.

Implicitly, I'm saying that managed care is not maybe a unitary intervention, it's a tailored strategy in which intensive attention is given to how to adapt care to the needs of particular populations.