Integrated healthcare to save $110B in California

Embracing coordinated care could allow California to cut $110 billion in healthcare spending over the next decade, concludes a report from the Berkeley Forum.

The group of healthcare executives, state officials and academics spent the last year studying how to make California's healthcare market more affordable, according to an announcement from the UC Berkeley News Center.

Their findings aren't all new; some of the shifts are already happening in response to the health reform law and employers' desires to lower medical costs, the Los Angeles Times notes. However, the  report does "quantify how much work remains to be done and the potential savings if major changes are made in how doctors and hospitals are paid," according to the article.

"This could be a game changer in the state," report coauthor Stephen Shortell, dean of the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley, told the Los Angeles Times. "These are the CEOs of big insurers, big health systems and large medical groups saying it's time for a change, and these are the people who can get things done."

The forum calls for a shift toward "global budgets," in which physicians would provide care under preset amounts, adjusted to reflect the health of their patients and tied to providers' performance quality.

"Health care reform is just too complex a problem for any single firm, industry or government agency to tackle, so having these parties come to the same table and reach a shared understanding for how to improve health care quality while reducing costs is a remarkable achievement," said UC Berkeley's Richard Scheffler in the announcement.

The Forum Vision also sets the goal that 60 percent of California's population will be enrolled in fully or highly integrated care systems by 2022, which would double today's figure.

Kaiser Permanente has been an example of streamlined, integrated care for the state of California. Putting an emphasis on prevention, wellness and EHRs, it provides care up to 20 percent below market average costs.

To learn more:
- read the announcement from UC Berkeley
- read the Los Angeles Times article

Related Articles:
What insurers can learn from Kaiser's successful integrated healthcare model
How to get paid for care coordination
Payment reform, new delivery models to save trillions