Taking Action Express: Economic Value Does Not Apply to Health Care

June 3, 2014

181The Weekly Buzz: A New Report: Healthcare: Economic Value Need Not Apply (Yet)

The National Business Coalition on Health (NBCH) just released a special distribution of a new report from the Healthcare Industry Group of the consulting practice Alvarez and Marsal (AM).  Action Group members may be particularly interested in the chapter beginning on page 88, “Employers: Empowering Workers to Manage Their Health.” “This painstakingly researched document offers a comprehensive review of health care practice, cost and outcomes, describing many mechanisms of excess, the capriciousness of results, and the elusiveness of value,” says NBCH Chief Executive Officer, Brian Klepper, PhD. “While the overall thrust of this piece will not be news to health care veterans – health care interests have overwhelmingly rigged the system against patients and purchasers – the thoroughness and depth of this report are useful both as a demonstration of that argument and as a current snapshot of market and policy realities.”

184Considering the Effects of Hospital and Physician Consolidation

There is growing national concern that consolidations of health care providers are leading to higher prices for health care services, according to the Center for Healthcare Quality & Payment Reform. In a new paper, “The Best Antidote to Provider Market Power is to Change the Healthcare Payment System,” Harold Miller describes how most policy prescriptions for how to address this fail to recognize three key points:

A recent article in Modern Healthcare also addresses the consolidation trend. “There will be more consolidation,” says Paul Ginsburg, a health policy and economics professor at the University of Southern California. “Rather than fight it, we should just start looking at how to cope with the greater market power from increased consolidation.”

185The Action Group’s 2014 Survey Results Information Now Posted Online

The 2014 Minnesota Health Action Group annual employer benefit survey reflects information provided by 31 employers who are either headquartered in or have employees in Minnesota. The participating companies represent over 256,000 employees: Over 161,000 in the Twin Cities and about 95,000 throughout the rest of the state. Survey participants who were unable to attend the meeting have now received a hard copy of the full report in the mail. View the Executive Summary.

183“What do Minnesota Hospitals Have to Hide?”

This provocative editorial from the Star Tribune questions why the state’s hospitals are reticent to release information provided in the groundbreaking Hospital Total Care report cards released to them this spring. “Unless hospitals actually follow through on rhetoric about transparency and better ‘value’ for health care dollars, far too few of these Hospital Total Care reports will see the light of day outside of hospitals’ executive offices.”

Thought for the Week

“I’ve been asked a lot for my view on American health care. Well, ‘it would be a good idea,’ to quote Gandhi.”

– Paul Farmer, M.D. (American physician and anthropologist)