July 15, 2019
by Ceci Connolly
The following is an excerpt from a talk given at the recent ACHP Boards of Directors Symposium
Every month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics issues its jobs report. For nine years, the nation has added jobs, fueled in part by strong growth in the health sector.
And every month, my friend Bob Kocher and I play a game on Twitter.
“Health care jobs are up again,” tweets Bob, a venture capitalist, physician and former adviser to the National Economic Council.
And I tweet back: “Is that good or bad?”
Bob’s response—which has grown increasingly forceful—is: “Not so good.”
In his analysis, and in the view of many economists, the health care jobs being created are adding cost in a system that is already too expensive.
It has been widely documented the U.S. spends more per capita than any other industrialized nation on coverage and care—but our overall outcomes are mediocre at best. Who would have thought in 2019, our nation’s health care system would be looking at a decline in life expectancy, a rise in preventable diseases such as measles and a third of the population identified as pre-diabetic?
Government has made half-hearted attempts to steer purchasers toward high-value options. But in the current Washington climate of partisan divisions, it would be foolhardy to wait for policy makers to take the lead.
I am pleased to report ACHP member companies have taken up the value challenge. As detailed in our report, Accelerating the Adoption of Evidence-Based Care: Payer Provider Partnerships, the ACHP member model of payer-provider relationships, value-based care and community health delivers greater value.
Case studies in the report document how ACHP members have eliminated inappropriate early inductions, implemented safer opioid prescribing practices and increased access to mental health services, to name a few.
But we are making meaningful progress and I urge everyone in the industry to take on the challenge of making health care more affordable. Align the incentives, wipe out the waste, rely on the evidence and engage in the difficult conversations. Tap into the power of clinician and plan partnerships embodied in the ACHP model. By doing so, Americans will be given the health system they pay for and so richly deserve.
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