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Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
This new strategy was being developed as CMS was switching from a disease management model to a prevention model. Several issues arose from that change in emphasis:
- Entities whose business models were built on the disease management basis could be actively obstructionist or simply unwilling to fully support the new CMS initiative;
- Change is often perceived as threatening, particularly to older people who are accustomed to routine;
- An enormous number of Americans did not have any health insurance, making them much more difficult to reach through existing health channels.
These communication problems were made greater by the fact that the population served by CMS is diverse, fragmented, and presented both socio-economic and linguistic challenges. These audiences presented formidable communication challenges including cultural or spiritual differences, language barriers, ignorance of good health practices, and concerns about confidentiality or discrimination. Many audience members were not connected with primary care providers, medical specialists, or other health care professionals.
- Many target audiences had to be reached through intermediaries, some of whom in turn had to be educated, convinced, and motivated.
- SDI guided CMS in the enlistment of other parts of the federal government that had shared interests and constituencies, state and local governments, and broad based representative organizations focused on health or on seniors.
We worked with The Provider Communications Group’s (PCG) to ensure that physicians and other health care professionals were provided with educational materials to inform them about the new preventive services and help them communicate the availability of these new services to Medicare beneficiaries.
And, we worked with the Contractor Management Group to inform Medicare contractors who in turn were responsible for provider education and training.