BCBS CEO: Government, private sector are 'mutually reinforcing'

Massachusetts can see even greater success in expanding health insurance coverage and improving quality care by recognizing healthcare as a "unique interconnected ecosystem," Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts CEO Andrew Dreyfus said Wednesday during a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Executive Forum.

He added that the state, which leads the nation in health reform initiatives, should accelerate its redesign of care delivery and payment, increase preventive health efforts and improve patient engagement in their own care, the Boston Herald reported.

One way Blue Cross is working toward these goals is through its alternative quality contracts, which have already achieved cost savings, FierceHealthPayer previously reported. "Part of the secret, I believe, is that we don't tell physicians how to redesign care," Dreyfus explained. "Instead we mutually agree to a budget and a comprehensive set of quality goals and then we allow the practices to adapt to meet their patient needs supported with extensive data and consultation by Blue Cross."

He also said that by helping the 5 percent of patients who account for 50 percent of health spending because of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, coronary artery disease and depression, overall costs could significantly drop. That goal can be reached, in part, by investing in health and wellness. "We should encourage patients to consider the relationship between the choices they make for their health care and the cost of that care," Dreyfus said.

Massachusetts could make even more headway if the healthcare community stopped arguing whether the government or private sector could better improve the industry, reported the Boston Business Journal. Instead, the two sides of healthcare are "mutually reinforcing" and can work together to improve care. "We need government --which already funds half the care in Massachusetts--to provide proper safeguards, and we need competitive forces to prompt innovation and improvement," he noted.

To learn more:
- read the Boston Herald article
- see the Boston Business Journal article