Payment reform requires public, private collaboration

Low-cost, high-quality care requires an all-hands-on-deck commitment across all industries, according to a coalition of health plans, a hospital and consumer advocates.

The coalition includes Ascension Health, National Coalition on Health Care, America's Health Insurance Plans, Pacific Business Group on Health and Families USA.

The unlikely partners joined forces to develop strategies that will revamp how the U.S. healthcare system pays for care, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announced yesterday.

"We're not just singing Kumbaya ... this is a real, specific, integrated approach," Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack told Kaiser Health News, adding that the groups wanted to go against the grain of shifting costs from one program or industry to another.

Their approach reaffirm calls for payment and delivery models that reward providers for quality of care and value, and reimbursement for services proven to be more effective.

The organizations also recommend incentivizing consumers and states to help control healthcare costs, according to RWJF. Their payment reforms would give consumers financial incentives to choose high-performing providers and evidence-based treatments, while states that slow spending growth would share a percentage of Medicare and Medicaid savings.

To create a cost-efficient healthcare system, the public and private sectors also need to use a uniform set of quality and performance measures, the organizations noted.

The healthcare industry has heard plenty for calls for payment reform of late. In a study published this week in Health Affairs, researchers said the United States could curb healthcare costs by restructuring hospital payment systems based on diagnosis-related groups.

To learn more:
- here's the RWJF announcement
- read the KHN article