Report Suggests How to Improve Health Ca

January 18 [Fri], 2013, 21:10
After learning just yesterday about thewealthy nations around the world, it is heartening to learn that today thehas reported on ways to improve both the quality and cost of health care. If both private and public insurers acted in tandem to put the suggested approaches to work now, spending in health care dollars would be slowed by a.

Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System

Theis a nonpartisan private foundation founded in 1918 with a broad mission to "enhance the common good," which the group does by promoting a high-performance health care system that is accessible to all who need it by supporting independent research and providing grants to improve both practice and policy in the realm of health care.

The commission has awith diverse experiences in health care and is currently chaired by David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P. It is these individuals who are charged with the responsibility to first determine where health care falters and then to chart a suggested course of improvement.

Suggested Areas of Health Care Reform

The suggested reforms fall into three broad categories: Provider payment reforms to promote value and accelerate delivery system innovation; policies to expand options and encourage high-value choices by consumers; and system-wide action to improve how health care markets function.

Highlights of suggested reforms:

* Revise Medicare physician fees and methods of updating payment -- so the consumer and the insurer are paying for value

* Adopt payment reforms for both public and private payers and do so together

* Provide positive incentives for both Medicare and Medicaid recipients for seeking care from high-value, patient-centered health care providers and teams

* Establish spending targets

* Simplify and unify administrative policies and procedures in both public and private insurance plans to reduce cost and complexity of administration

Importance of Information Technology to Improvements, Cost Savings

The meaningful use of health information technology is integral to the improvement of patient care and positive health outcomes. Blumenthal explained to , "There is a clear recognition that information technology is part of the support for this general set of policies and that, in fact, the continued spread and utility of information systems of all types will be critical to achieving this vision."

One specific way of using health information technology cited in the report is for comparative effectiveness and safety of various treatment choices, which together with health care costs could help consumers choose high-value providers.

Bottom Line

After learning of the potential for positive change in health care delivery and its costs both to insurers and consumers, you might begin to feel hopeful for the future of American health care -- that is before you consider the likelihood of elected officials at federal, state and local levels agreeing and acting in unison to put the suggested reforms into action. The reforms would also necessitate public and private insurers to act in unison, which is more probable from the standpoint that both sets of payers would benefit from the cost savings.

Many American politicians at federal and state levels cannot yet grasp that the Affordable Care Act, deemed constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, is a reality that must be accepted. Until our leaders can truly come together for the greater good of the nation and its citizens, I won't be holding my breath on seeing these common sense reforms enacted.