The Washington Health Alliance (Alliance) and Dr. Robert Bree Collaborative (Bree) at the Foundation for Health Care Quality are teaming up to encourage everyone in Washington state’s health care system to make a commitment in 2021 to increase the adoption of value-based payment models. National, regional, and local health care leaders discussed the urgent need to move from fee-for-service to aligning payments with quality at a recent virtual summit organized by the Bree and the Alliance, sponsored by Cambia Grove.
In terms of adopting value-based payment mechanisms, the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) is considered a national model, as it is on track to reach its target of 90% value-based payments in 2021. HCA Executive Director Sue Birch says the plan by 2025 is to shift from paying for volume to paying for health and value outcomes, such as higher quality services, lower costs, greater health equity, improved access, and better patient and provider experience. “Quite frankly, if we could just get all of the unevenness out of the systems that we are all responsible for, we could make extraordinary successes,” said Birch.
Working collectively is critical in order to fundamentally shift the way health care is delivered in the state, according to Chair of the Bree, Dr. Hugh Straley. Straley says “there are many levers for change that are within reach” and he describes the unified call to action as asking for alignment and collaboration across all four stakeholders in the health care system, providers, payers, plans, and patients. Straley illustrated the types of change that can be adopted now:
- adopting multi-payer value-based payment models that do not rely on fee-for-service as the primary payment mechanism;
- helping providers focus on making the needed improvements in care delivery by simplifying contracts and aligning performance measurement that rewards high quality, affordable, and equitable care;
- implementing more integrated data systems that prioritize patient-centered care and reduce unnecessary administrative complexity; and
- seeking ways that key stakeholders (purchasers, providers, and health plans) can collectively address the profound negative effects that social determinants of health can have on disadvantaged and communities of color.
Acknowledging that consumers are also an important part of the health care marketplace, Alliance Executive Director Nancy Giunto recognized that “everyone contributes to health care affordability in our country and everyone has an important role to play in making health care what we want it to be.” Giunto urged participation by all Washingtonians to help fix the problems, “for the patients and advocates that are not as adept at navigating this complex and confusing world of decision-making in health care that we’ve all created.”
To support the effort, the Bree and the Alliance are asking organizations to take steps that they are not taking today or furthering the work they already started to increase value-based care. “If we all pledge to take action, there is nothing holding us back from making health and health care in Washington state a model for the country,” urged Dr. Straley. To assist organizations in their efforts, the Bree and the Alliance are sponsoring a year-long series of webinars, “A Framework for Action to Drive Health Care Value.” The first webinar, From impossible to Implementation: Mobilizing Collective Action Around Social Determinants of Health will be held on January 21st at 11 am PST. Programs later in the year include strategies for how health care purchasers, providers, and plans can align payments to providers to support evidence-based care, simplifying quality measurements, and coordinating data systems.