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PBGH Spotlight
November 2010


Leading employers launch bold initiative to reform the way we pay for health care in America

Last Friday eight large employers, including several members of the Pacific Business Group on Health, officially launched Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR), an independent nonprofit corporation working on behalf of large employers to catalyze improvements to how we pay for health care in the U.S. Originally called the Center for Payment Reform when it was conceived in January 2009, the PBGH has helped to incubate the effort, which is now led by a multi-stakeholder leadership committee. “The private sector needs to lead innovation and influence payment policies to ensure that public and private sector payment improves value for all.” says Anna Fallieras, Program Leader, National Health Care Initiatives, GE, who is a member of CPR’s Board.

Catalyst for Payment Reform also announced that Suzanne Delbanco, PhD has become its first executive director. As the founding and former CEO of The Leapfrog Group (2000-2007), Delbanco brings a strong track record in working with large health care purchasers to create positive change in the health care marketplace. More information is available at http://www.catalyzepaymentreform.org/.

PBGH Medical Director Dr. Arnie Milstein to lead new Stanford-based research center to improve health care quality, reduce costs

PBGH Medical Director Arnold Milstein, MD MPH, has been appointed Professor of Medicine at Stanford University, where he will establish a new Clinical Excellence Research Center, charged with leading collaborative research that improves health and the patient experience, while lowering health care costs. “I am excited to promote collaborative research among Stanford's globally distinguished business, engineering and medical school faculties to ultimately help clinicians to deliver better health with less money," says Milstein. Stanford University is a long-time member of the Pacific Business Group on Health.

Milstein will remain as PBGH's medical director, where he will continue to support projects and national policies to improve efficiency, quality and accountability in health care. Milstein has had a long and distinguished career working on key issues including improving patient safety, promoting transparency, and re-engineering care delivery.

PBGH continues national policy work to leverage health reform to increase value

For the past several months PBGH, working in concert with the Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Project, has been hard at work in Washington DC, playing the role of both advocate and expert in federal efforts to improve health care quality.

Last week the Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Project teamed up with 27 leading employer groups, consumer and labor organizations to provide guidance on the HHS effort to develop a comprehensive National Health Care Quality Strategy and Plan. A key theme throughout the comments is that improving quality and population health must be done simultaneously with reducing costs. Read more about their guidance at http://www.healthcaredisclosure.org.

PBGH CEO David Lansky, PhD, has also been a reliable presence in Washington, working to share expertise and purchaser concerns as part of the “meaningful use” process to shape the criteria for the federal investment in health IT. That program is now exploring a new generation of quality measures that address domains of importance to consumers and purchasers – including care coordination, patient safety, efficiency and overuse, and increased patient engagement in their care.

“Health Information Technology will provide the platform for many long overdue improvements in health care as well as the ability to measure quality in ways that matter to patients and to those who pay for care,” explains Lansky. “We need to ensure that purchasers’ concerns about quality, safety, and affordability are fully represented in the policymaking process.”

New PBGH Issue Brief available to help plans, purchasers during open enrollment

Understanding how employees evaluate and choose among health plans can help both plans and employers better support employees’ decision-making at open enrollment time. A new PBGH Issue Brief studied thousands of employees who used the PBGH Plan Chooser and concluded that the vast majority of employees rank share of costs, coverage levels and access to doctors as top concerns. Additional features that are important in plan choice include: rules for choosing and using doctors; services to save money; and wellness services. Download the Plan Chooser Issue Brief.

Health care purchasers testify to Federal Trade Commission to help keep care affordably priced

Earlier this month with the help of PBGH, purchasers attended an important hearing put on jointly by the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Health and Human Services to share a caution: accountable care organizations (ACOs) need to be regulated properly to ensure they delivery high quality, affordable care. Specified in the new health care reform law, ACOs are organizations of providers that agree to be accountable for the total cost and quality of care they deliver to a specific population. ACOs can be an important model, helping to improve the delivery, quality and affordability of health care. But because they will lead to further consolidation between hospitals and physicians, there are concerns that ACOs will drive up health care costs. Purchasers pointed out that it will be important for plans and purchasers to be able to negotiate directly with individual providers. Robert Galvin, MD, former Director of Global Health for GE (now CEO of Equity Healthcare) offered testimony on behalf of purchasers, urging the FTC to promote evaluation, transparency and competition in this new space.

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PBGH in the Spotlight

The Informed Patient Institute (IPI) rated the California Office of the Patient Advocate Report Card as top site in California for physician and medical group performance information. PBGH supports the methodology and presentation of HMO, PPO and provider group performance information on the State's Website for consumers.

David Hopkins, PhD, PBGH Director of Quality Measurement, presented on Rating Physician Performance as part of a panel on "Health Care Quality Rating: Can We Continue to Make the Grade?" at the California Association of Health Plans' annual conference.

Jennifer Eames Huff, Deputy Director of the Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Project, presented on Using eValue8 to Shape the Implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the National Business Coalition on Health eValue8 Users Group Meeting.

Cheryl Damberg, PhD, PBGH Director of Research and Senior Research at RAND, presented on Pre-Packaged Quality Performance Measures:
“Ready, Set, Go”
for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Chartered Value Exchange learning network.



In the News

Former PBGH board member Pamela Hymel, MD, MPH, FACOEM, has recently left her position with Cisco and on the PBGH Board to become the Chief Medical Officer for Disney Parks and Resorts. PBGH wishes her much success in her new endeavor.

Carladenise Edwards, PhD, has joined Cal eConnect as its Chief Executive Officer. Selected from a nationwide search, Edwards brings extensive HIE experience to her new job. Most recently she served as Georgia’s Health Information Technology Coordinator in her roles as Chief of Staff and Interim Commissioner for the Georgia Department of Community Health. Read more.

 




About PBGH

Pacific Business Group on Health is one of the nation's top business coalitions focused on health care.  Our 50 large purchaser members spend billions of dollars annually to provide health care coverage to more than 3 million employees, retirees and dependents.  PBGH is a respected voice in the state and national dialogue on how to improve the quality and effectiveness of health care while moderating costs.  Partnering with the state's leading health plans, provider organizations, consumer groups and other stakeholders, PBGH works on many fronts to promote value-based purchasing in health care.