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MHI News

Getting to Affordability: Highlights from 2017 BHC Annual Meeting | 11.06.17

"The policy debate is less about health and more about taxes." Keynote speaker and Harvard researcher Dr. Michael Chernew kicked off the 2017 BHC Annual Meeting with an examination of the causes and consequences of rising health care spending. In his opening address, he stressed the unsustainability of the current health care financing system and the burden that it places on the American people. As a solution, he identified three key problems to address: high prices, overuse, and underuse of care. Among the potential strategies to overcome this cost and utilization conundrum, Dr. Chernew discussed competition and managed care, payment reform, benefit design, organization of medical practice, and wellness programs. 

An employer case study followed, featuring Dr. Christine Hunter, Chief Medical Officer for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Overseeing America's largest employer-sponsored group health insurance program (covering over 8 million enrollees), Dr. Hunter described the government's guiding principles for achieving consumer engagement, a competitive market, and better value/better health. A primary piece of this strategy includes a health plan performance assessment, which scores plans on measures related to patient safety and outcomes, transparency, efficiency, and customer service. As takeaways, Dr. Hunter underscored the need for employers to be specific about goals, align measures and payment, and assess total cost to drive health plan progress. 

The meeting closed with comments from Dr. Jeffrey Rideout on the Integrated Healthcare Association's experience with performance measurement and Accountable Care Organizations in California, aligning both incentives and recognition for better care. A common measure set is used, including variables for clinical quality, patient experience, advancing care information, appropriate resource use, and total cost of care. Over time, the program has achieved clinical quality gains, resulting in more comprehensive patient care for the 9.5 million Californians covered by the 9 participating health plans and 200+ medical groups and independent practice associations. 

To learn more about the St. Louis Area Business Health Coalition, please visit stlbhc.org.