Nemours Children's Health System positions itself, pediatric hospitals for leadership role in shift to value

The new CEO for Nemours Children's Health System, Lawrence Moss, M.D., addresses a crowd in D.C. on Oct. 11. (Nemours Children's Health System)

With the backdrop of the U.S. Capitol Building through a wall of windows behind him, Nemours Children's Health System's newly minted CEO made his case for why the nation's top healthcare leaders and lawmakers need to pay more attention to pediatric hospitals in the push for a value-based payment system.

"What we're doing today is the beginning of Nemours really accelerating and doubling down on our commitment to this conversation and playing a leadership role in what children's healthcare looks like tomorrow," said Lawrence Moss, M.D., to the crowd that had come for the daylong event at the Newseum conference center in Washington, D.C.

Moss was speaking at an event hosted by Nemours called "Pediatric Moneyball"—a nod to the tricky financial picture faced in particular by pediatric organizations—just steps from the lawmakers who have the power to prioritize their resources.

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Those numbers are tricky, but they could be one of the most important places to start, Moss said. "In any health system, children are 7% of the whole. Children tend to get 7% of the attention and, if we're lucky, 7% of the dollars," Moss said. "But healthcare is not a zero-sum game. The 7%—guess what?—it's going to grow up and become the 93%."

RELATED: Nemours Children’s Health System names Moss as new president and CEO

Under former CEO David J. Bailey's leadership, the organization said in an announcement, Nemours increased revenues from $533 million to $1.4 billion, built the Orlando campus and increased its care locations from 15 to more than 80 throughout six states. It also established a robust digital health and telemedicine platform.

Nemours is launching its pediatric residency training after receiving accreditation for the program and is in the midst of a project to pull all of its digital health offerings onto a single patient-facing platform by 2019.

Taking up the mantle from Bailey, Moss indicated Nemours intends to use its reputation and build a leadership role in the shift from volume-based payment model to a value-based system. "Nemours Children's Health System is one of them most important and influential medical institutions in the world," Moss said. "We have a tremendous opportunity and can do tremendous things."

RELATED: Nemours Children’s Health System CEO David J. Bailey to retire this year

Moss pointed to the name of the conference: Pediatric Moneyball.

"How a society spends its money is a reflection of what we value and what we prioritize," Moss said. "When I think about healthcare, I've spent most of my life as a surgeon taking care of really complicated and really expensive problems. And it's driven me crazy every day of that journey that the incentives of the health system are exactly the opposite of what they should be. I do the most expensive and complicated operations and have kids in the ICU. And the more that happens, the better the current health system does financially."

But if the health system is able to prevent that child from needing to come into the hospital in the first place, it fails. "Which is just ridiculous that we have set up 30% of our GDP completely backward," Moss said. "We have an opportunity to change that."

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