Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Value-Based Health Care: A New Flight Pattern

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Value-Based Health Care: A New Flight Pattern

Article excerpt

Ladies and gentlemen, your physician has now turned on the "fasten your seat belt" sign. Please stow your medical issues underneath the seat in front of you or in the overhead bin. Make sure your medical records and insurance cards are in the upright position. The flight 2018 to value-based health care has started its engines!

Some hospitals do not know which flight to take; others are not sure they even want to board the plane. But many physicians, health system executives and other stakeholders agree that the trip is unavoidable; yes, the flight from traditional "fee for service cost reimbursement" toward payment models that promote value has been given clearance to takeoff.

So, in the real world, what does this mean? Well, too often, knowing the cost of a stitch or catheter or bone screw hasn't been part of a physician's medical consciousness.The same was true with administrators, too, having both been born and raised in the school of "cost reimbursement," where in effect, cost really didn't matter. But we are flying into a new day.

No longer will health care be measured by how many patients the hospital can admit or doctors can see or how many tests and procedures can be ordered or how much can be charged. Instead, value- based health care will focus on patient outcomes, paired against care cycle costs, i.e. quicker recoveries, fewer readmissions, lower infection rates and fewer medical errors, to name a few. By 2018, hospitals will be required to publish cost and quality metrics monthly. This new "medical transparency" is what will makevalue- based health care revolutionary.

The market shift toward value-based health care, inspired by Harvard economist Michael Porter, presents an unprecedented opportunity and challenge for the U.S. health care system. Instead of rewarding volume, new value-based payment models reward better results: specifically, cost, quality and outcome measures. …

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