Meaningful health reform will entail quality, affordable coverage for all Americans and a restructured health care delivery system. A growing number of health industry leaders understand they must reorganize their business models to realize these goals.
Recognizing that business as usual is no longer a
sustainable model in health care, a diverse coalition of six CEOS from across
the health care sector have come together to form Health CEOs for Health Reform
(HC4HR). The coalition, facilitated by the New America Foundation, brings
together health industry leaders with a unique willingness to transform their
business models to create a more sustainable health system.
The group’s members are committed to moving past broad
policy concepts toward detailed blueprints that reconcile the legislative goals
and principles of lawmakers with the operational realities of our health care system.
The coalition is built on the following three principles:
reform is an urgent priority for our nation and should not be postponed.
health reform entails both quality, affordable health coverage for all and
delivery system reform. This will require all stakeholders to move away
from "business as usual."
- A more
sustainable health system will require all health care stakeholders to
offer and accept changes to their business models as part of a catalytic
package that will better serve everyone.
The CEOs announced the formation of HC4HR in an event at the
National Press Club. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) provided a Congressional
keynote for the event, stressing the importance of health reform in our
national agenda and applauding the leadership shown by HC4HR.
Introducing the coalition Len Nichols, Director of the
Health Policy Program at the New America Foundation and HC4HR’s facilitator
said the coalition will “focus on helping policymakers identify solutions that
will ensure everyone has quality, affordable health coverage within a system
that delivers high value for every health care dollar,”
“It’s time for health industry CEOs to step up and say what
has to be said — that achieving coverage for all will require each of us to change
the way we do business. With regard to health plans, that means giving up the
right to pick and choose our customers based on how healthy they are.” said Bruce Bodaken, chairman and CEO of Blue Shield of
H. Dean, President and CEO of Catholic Healthcare West, offered similar
sentiments saying: “It’s time for hospitals and physicians to address the
reality that healthcare costs too much and that our current ways of financing
and delivering healthcare are outdated and not sustainable,”
Addressing the current economic crisis, Gary Kaplan, chair
and CEO of the Virginia Mason Medical
Center in Seattle, argued that “increasingly, given the
state of our economy, we cannot afford not to have health care reform. It is
clear to all of us we have a crisis. We have a crisis in coverage,
affordability and quality."
Speaking to the need for comparative effectiveness research,
Frazier, President of Global Human Health for Merck & Co said “Merck
supports a new national comparative effectiveness research (CER) effort as part
of health system delivery reform. We understand that payers, providers, and
patients want better evidence to make better coverage and treatment decisions,
which will strengthen the uniquely American competitive health care
Wolter, CEO of the Billings (Mont.) Clinic, laid out
some of specifics for a successful delivery system reform such as “Payment
reform, health information technology, administrative simplification, reduction
in conflict of interest, and many other tactics,” and stressed that “never has
the need for leadership from CEOs and others in the health care field become so
Patricia Gabow, CEO of Denver Health spoke to the issue of
payment reform, arguing that "We need a payment model that will remove the
enormous health care complexities that add cost as well as confusion for our
patients and providers. … We need a payment model that provides the appropriate
incentives to doing care, which provides real value to our patients."
Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA) also issued statements welcoming the group's formation. Kennedy
commended "the health industry CEOs for their willingness to work together
to respond to one of the most important challenges facing our country in this
new century," and Baucus said, "This group certainly adds to the momentum
for all stakeholders to come together and work toward comprehensive health care
National Press Club, First Amendment Room
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