Maryland results prove healthcare partnerships can improve care quality

Guest post by Carmela Coyle, president and CEO of the Maryland Hospital Association

Collaboration and care coordination have been buzzwords for decades. But, until recently, those words were little more than rhetoric.

Now, with the nation's healthcare leaders laser-focused on value rather than volume, these admirable pursuits are transforming from ideas into action, as providers across the healthcare continuum reinvent the way they work together to succeed in the 21st century.

This is no accident. The shift from volume to value is occurring by design and through transformative national initiatives. Consider some the recent efforts from the federal government:

  • 30 percent of traditional Medicare payments will be tied to quality or value through models like accountable care organizations or bundled payments by the end of 2016.
  • 50 percent of payments will be tied to these models by the end of 2018.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a goal of tying 90 percent of all traditional Medicare payments to quality or value by the end of 2018 through programs like Hospital Value Based Purchasing and the Hospital Readmissions Reduction programs.

Of course, these initiatives serve the Triple Aim of healthcare--lower per capita costs, improved patient experience and healthier communities. And they're in line with the core mission of every healthcare organization in the nation, which is to care for those in need.

Somewhere along the line, too many healthcare providers lost sight of that mission, and of their patients. But there's no debate that how well we treat our patients will be the dominant factor in future success.

What does this mean for hospitals? First, the paradigm has shifted and the change from volume to value is irrevocable. Second, the people who benefit most from these changes are our patients, collectively. And third, that working together is not only necessary to succeed in this new environment, but is the right step to take to make sure people receive the right care, at the right time, in the right setting.

>> Read the full commentary at Hospital Impact