Study: Home-delivered meals could save money for Medicare

Politics

FILE – In this Nov. 8, 2018, file photo, the U.S. Medicare Handbook is photographed, in Washington. Medicare could save $1.57 for every dollar spent delivering free meals to frail seniors in the first week after they come home following a hospitalization, says a new study that comes as lawmakers express interest in practical services that can improve patients’ well-being. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new study says Medicare could save $1.57 for every dollar spent delivering free healthy meals to frail seniors after a hospitalization.

The study by a think tank, the Bipartisan Policy Center, comes as lawmakers look to restrain costs by promoting patients’ well-being. It addresses ways that Medicare can do better in coordinating care for chronically ill patients, who account for most of the program’s costs.

Medicare would spend to provide meals, but it would save more on hospital stays avoided.

The study recommends that Congress grant Medicare the authority to offer services like meals, reflecting a growing recognition that they can help older people avoid hospital stays.

The ranking Democrat on the committee overseeing Medicare, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, says he’d be interested in expanding such benefits.

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