Morgan Health unveils policy platform, pushes for value-based care in employer market

Over the past two years, Morgan Health has unveiled a slew of investments in companies it believes can improve employer healthcare.

At the same, the healthcare arm of JPMorgan Chase has been developing a policy and advocacy platform that it intends to use to drive similar improvements. The cornerstone of the platform unveiled Thursday: Policymakers need to continue pushing for value-based care to ensure employer health catches up.

The commercial insurance market has historically lagged behind government payers on value-based care. A recent report from the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network found that less than 13% of payments in the commercial sector were tied to two-sided risk models, compared to 35% in Medicare Advantage and 24% in traditional Medicare.

"We see major, major progress in Medicare and Medicaid across the healthcare system as a result of two decades of engagement by the federal government," Dan Mendelson, CEO of Morgan Health, told Fierce Healthcare. "The federal government has not engaged in a meaningful way in the commercial sector, and accountable care is vanishingly rare in this sector—and that's what we need help fixing."

The policy platform focuses on two key pillars: mitigating workforce shortages in primary care and behavioral health and promoting data and uniformity standards across the healthcare system.

Within those two broad themes, Morgan Health points to several solutions that could help address major challenges. For example, allowing clinicians aside from physicians practice at the top of their licenses could fill in gaps in the workforce, and boosting reimbursement for behavioral health could also help mitigate workforce shortages.

In addition, driving greater adoption of integrated value-based care models could make it easier for patients to access behavioral health care while incentivizing primary care providers to offer such services, according to the platform.

Mendelson said that these priorities align with what primary care physicians and advance practice clinicians are also pushing for.

"Just by the virtue of the priorities that we've articulated, we're starting to see who our allies are," he said.

On data, Morgan Health suggests building a centralized, national provider directory, which could improve cost and quality as well as drive greater adoption of value-based care models. In addition, modernizing requirements under the Health Insurance Portability and Accoutability Act can allow statute to better reflect new payer technology.

The federal government should also develop consistent standards for race and ethnicity data in the employer sector that align with government payers, the organization said.

Orriel Richardson, vice president of health equity and policy at Morgan Health, told Fierce Healthcare that devising clear data standards is a "foundational principle" for employers, as it can make it easier for them to push health equity initiatives as well as drive toward greater value in healthcare.

"For employers, they tend to have one body of information that they get from HR," she said. "But those things are sort of firewalled, if you will, from the data and information that they have access to on providing benefits."

Richardson said that employers have had a voice on the Hill for years on healthcare issues, so advocacy in this space is nothing new. However, she said the Morgan Health team weighed the best approach to joining into the conversation while staying committed to the idea that joining in was necessary.

"Core to what our entire organizational goal is is being a voice that hasn't necessarily been present in the space of innovation and employer-based insurance," Richardson said.