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PBGH Spotlight
March 2010


California Unveils New Cal eConnect Organization

Governor Schwarzenegger has announced the state’s intent to designate Cal eConnect as a new non-profit entity that will lead and oversee a collaborative process to advance Health Information Exchange (HIE) services in California. Pacific Business Group on Health CEO, David Lansky, PhD will serve as co-chair of the new statewide governance entity, along with Don Crane, CEO of the California Association of Physician Groups. Cal eConnect will oversee the creation of a network of standardized, interoperable data systems that enable virtually all providers to send quality measures and patient data to other appropriate and qualified users. Read more.

“The holy grail of electronic health records seems to be finally within reach,” said Lansky. “Cal eConnect will promote and expand the exchange of health information in a manner that protects patient privacy, promotes quality, and ultimately improves efficiency and reduces health care costs.” As a result of provisions in the federal stimulus bill (ARRA) passed by Congress in February 2009, California will receive $38 million to help doctors and hospitals exchange information.

In the aggregate, Congress allocated upwards of $40 billion for adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) certified as having specific functions. Individual doctors can qualify for as much as $64,000 each, and hospitals from $2 million to $5 million each, if they can demonstrate that they have made “meaningful use” of the EHR technology. Perhaps most significant, providers who fail to meet the standards by 2016 may be subject to very substantial penalties affecting all of their Medicare payments.

PBGH supports the stringent application of the “meaningful use” criteria (read the Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Project Fact Sheet). After all, this is a program that commits billions of our tax dollars to providers and the American public has a right to expect significant improvements in the quality, safety and accountability of health care as a result. As part of “meaningful use,” for example, Medicare will require any doctor or hospital receiving incentive payments to report a suite of quality measures electronically to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The inclusion of pharmacy, imaging and lab orders in electronic records will significantly enhance quality measurement. Furthermore, such systems can improve patient safety and reduce duplication by automatically applying evidence-based rules and care alerts.

Another significant process is the development of the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) which will define the standards, services, and policies that allow health information to be shared between providers, health care organizations, and with patients throughout the country, using the Internet. Lansky also serves as Chair of the Nationwide Health Information Network Workgroup for the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is on the committee that has developed the “meaningful use” recommendations, and is the national purchaser representative on the Health IT Policy Committee that advises the Secretary of HHS.

California Names Top 2009 Medical Groups

The California Office of the Patient Advocate released updated medical group performance results, naming top medical groups in clinical quality and patient experience. This is first time medical group ratings at the condition level are being reported, with stars ratings for diabetes, heart and cancer screening.

The following medical groups were rated Excellent in Patient Experience:

  • Marin IPA
  • Kaiser Permanente No Calif - Oakland/Richmond
  • Kaiser Permanente No Calif - Redwood City Medical Center
  • Kaiser Permanente No Calif - Santa Clara/Milpitas/Campbell/Mountain View
  • Kaiser Permanente No Calif - San Mateo (South San Francisco)
  • Kaiser Permanente No Calif - Stockton/Modesto/Manteca/Tracy
  • Palo Alto Medical Foundation
  • Scripps Mercy Medical Group
  • Scripps Clinic Medical Group
  • Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Centers
  • Sonoma County Primary Care IPA
  • Sutter West Medical Group
  • Sutter Delta Medical Group (Sutter Regional Medical Foundation)
  • ValleyCare IPA

The following medical groups were rated Excellent in Clinical Quality:

  • Cedars-Sinai Medical Group
  • Edinger Medical Group
  • Kaiser Permanente No Calif - Diablo Service Area (Walnut Creek/Antioch)
  • Kaiser Permanente No Calif - Greater Southern Alameda Area (Hayward/Fremont/UNC)
  • Kaiser Permanente No Calif - Oakland/Richmond
  • Kaiser Permanente No Calif - Redwood City Medical Center
  • Kaiser Permanente No Calif - San Francisco Medical Center
  • Kaiser Permanente No Calif - San Rafael Medical Center (Marin/Sonoma)
  • Kaiser Permanente No Calif - Santa Rosa Medical Center
  • Kaiser Permanente No Calif - Santa Clara/Milpitas/Campbell/Mountain View
  • Kaiser Permanente No Calif - San Jose Medical Center
  • Kaiser Permanente No Calif - San Mateo (South San Francisco)
  • Kaiser Permanente No Calif - Napa/Solano (Vallejo)
  • Mills-Peninsula Medical Group
  • Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Centers
  • So Calif Permanente Medical Group - Riverside
  • So Calif Permanente Medical Group - Orange County
  • So Calif Permanente Medical Group - Kern County
  • So Calif Permanente Medical Group - Baldwin Park
  • So Calif Permanente Medical Group - South Bay/Harbor City
  • So Calif Permanente Medical Group - Los Angeles
  • So Calif Permanente Medical Group - West Los Angeles

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PBGH in the Spotlight

Peter V. Lee, PBGH Executive Director for National Health Policy, presented on Shared Decision-making's Place in Health Care Reform at the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making Research and Policy Forum.

Lee also presented on Health Care Reform: Implications and Actions for Community Collaboratives at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Learning Network for Chartered Value Exchanges in his capacity as Co-Chair of the Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Project. Cheryl Damberg, PhD, PBGH Director of Research and Senior Researcher at RAND, presented on Methodological Considerations in Generating Provider Performance Scores for Use in Public Reporting at the national meeting.

Arnold Milstein, MD, MPH, PBGH Medical Director co-authored with Helen Darling, Better U.S. Health Care at Lower Cost in Issues in Science and Technology.

 



PBGH Member Highlights

PBGH welcomesTriZetto as a new Member. TriZetto is a leading healthcare information technology company providing enterprise and component software, hosting, outsourcing services and Web solutions for payer operations.

J. Brent Pawlecki, MD, corporate medical director at Pitney Bowes, authored End of Life: A Workplace Issue in Health Affairs. Dr. Pawlecki calls upon employers to recognize the extent to which
end-of-life issues affect the productivity and the emotional well-being of their workforce - both as caregivers and patients, along with the increased costs incurred through medical and disability expenses.

Pamela Hymel, MD, MPH, FACOEM, Corporate Medical Director for Cisco Systems, Inc., has been elected to the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s Board of Directors. Dr. Hymel has a proven track record of integrating worksite wellness with overall health benefits, most recently in designing HealthConnections, a health and productivity program for Cisco employees worldwide. She is also a Fellow of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM), on whose board she currently sits.





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.