Provider-payer collaboration reduces costs by up to 30%

Collaborative efforts between healthcare providers, health insurers and employers are eliminating wasteful and unnecessary healthcare costs, while improving the quality of care.

For instance, in Hillsboro, Ore., two healthcare systems, a health insurer and Intel voluntarily joined forces and saved $2 million in administrative costs, thanks to streamlined patient scheduling and registration, report Kaiser Health News and USA Today. By cutting back on unnecessary doctor visits and tests, the cost per patient dropped 10 percent to 30 percent.

The collaboration also reduced treatment time, with back pain patients completing their treatment in 21 days, compared to 52 days previously.

Similar partnerships are sprouting up across the country, the article notes. Health system AtlantiCare and Unite Here Health, a hotel workers' union health plan, teamed up in 2007 to provide intensive outpatient care to expensive chronic care patients in Atlantic City, N.J. Their jointly funded clinic led to reduced patient smoking, and blood pressure and diabetic blood sugar levels. With healthier patients, hospital admissions declined 41 percent and emergency department visits fell 48 percent, according to KHN and USA Today

Similarly, Blue Shield of California collaborated with Catholic Healthcare West, Hill Physicians Medical Group and CalPERS in Sacramento. Thanks to their teamwork, hospital length of stay and readmissions both fell 15 percent in 2010, saving more than $20 million.

In order for such provider-payer-employer partnerships to succeed, involved parties must get on board with sharing proprietary medical and financial information, cutting back on unnecessary care and yielding some professional autonomy, the article notes.

For more information:
- read the Kaiser Health News article