Friday, August 6, 2010

Guest Commentary: College for Value-Based Purchasing of Health Benefits

Marlon D. Satchell, MPH
Project Director
Jefferson School of Population Health

Martha C. Romney, MS, JD, MPH
Project Director
Jefferson School of Population Health

There is a growing recognition that the healthcare system in the United States is in an unhealthy state due to a number of factors, including uncontrollable and unsustainable costs, disparate and inequitable access and quality of care, unaccountable waste, errors, and misaligned incentives.

Employers and employees are facing growing challenges in covering the costs of healthcare, disease management, and preventive care.The public and private sectors are in search of methods to bend the cost curve and have identified value-based purchasing (VBP) as a powerful strategy. VBP has been defined as “a strategy employed by purchasers of health insurance and healthcare services to maximize the benefits received at lower costs.”1

The Jefferson School of Population Health (JSPH) has taken on an integral role in educating employers, benefit managers, insurers and human resource professionals about the principles, application, and measurement of VBP initiatives through its College for Value-Based Purchasing (CVBP). From July 19-22, JSPH – along with the National Business Coalition on Health, and the Healthcare 21 Business Coalition – offered an intensive program focusing on benefit purchasing techniques and skills, which emphasize improvement in the value, quality, cost, and effectiveness of health care services purchased on behalf of employees.

A faculty of national multi-disciplinary experts, including healthcare business coalition CEOs, legal, medical, business, human resource and healthcare research industry leaders, led 12 instructional modules on concepts such as improving and measuring quality of care and paying for performance. Other modules included methods for holding payers and providers accountable for quality care, while empowering and rewarding employees for achieving and maintaining their health through wellness programs, health risk assessments, lifestyle behavioral changes, and disease management.

Attendees included employee benefit managers from academia, health care, real estate, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, public safety, and more, who learned about the need for VBP and the VBP paradigm from the employers/payers, providers, consumers, business and healthcare coalitions’ perspectives. Additionally, attendees created customized action plans for their own institutions to conceptualize strategies for engaging senior and line management, creating supportive work environments, negotiating with suppliers, and implement change through a systematic, comprehensive, collaborative approach.

1. Slen J, Bailit M, Houy M. Value-base purchasing and consumer engagement strategies in state employee health plans: a purchaser’s guide. Academy Health. 2010.