Neil Goldfarb said that with the help of organizations such as the National Alliance of Healthcare Buyer Coalitions, business alliances are driving community-based and nationwide innovation in health outcomes, pricing and value, but significant challenges remain regarding transparency and support from community employers. have happened. , President and Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Philadelphia Business Coalition on Health (GPBCH).
GPBCH will host the 10-year anniversary event on November 10, 2022.
What have been the biggest challenges for GPBCH in advancing healthcare value?
I think one of the biggest challenges, as I indicated when I talked about LeapFrog Group, is the lack of transparency in the health care system. Therefore, value is about the relationship between quality and price, and many employers face the challenge of not having good access to information on quality and not having good information on price.
So, as we’ve helped, as a coalition, [to] Advancing the agenda of transparency not only for hospital care, but also for other places of care, we know it has made a difference, but there is much work to be done. For example, we don’t have very good transparency around physicians. We are very passionate about making primary care a mainstay for a health care system performing effectively.
We currently do not have good information that is publicly available on which primary care providers to provide good quality care. What are their results showing? What is the cost of various services offered? How are primary care providers being paid under various health plans? And so we have a lot more work to do. If we are going to drive value and use our purchasing power, we need to start with more transparency about what we are actually buying and at what cost. I think this is one of the biggest hurdles.
I think the other big hurdle is that it’s great that we’ve been successful as a coalition in growing our membership, but for every member we’ve recruited, we’ve talked to maybe 2 or 3 employers. Those who have said, “I don’t have time to be in an alliance” or, “I get exactly what I need from my benefits advisor,” and those who come together in the same direction through an alliance and a Do not recognize the value of employers walking in the same direction.
So, whoever is listening, who is the employer, if there is a regional alliance in your area, I would urge you to speak to them and support them. Even if you can’t go to meetings or educational events, your alliances are working on your behalf every day, and they’re affecting policy, they’re affecting quality in your market, they’re going to implement security measures. are doing and improving, and that’s benefiting your employees and your program. Therefore, each employer owes it to their regional alliances—not only GPBCH, but other coalitions across the country—employers credit it for showing their support for those alliances because those alliances are supporting them so much.
GPBCH and about 50 other regional coalitions are members of the National Alliance of Healthcare Buyer Coalitions. How has that relationship helped your alliance further its mission?
The National Alliance of Healthcare Buyer Alliances (National Alliance) is a national organization, we are members of a regional alliance, and their mission is parallel to ours: to bring coalitions together to work on big issues in healthcare to hopefully help So that employers and their alliances increase value. One of the key things the National Alliance does is that they bring all of us collectively together to learn from each other.
So, I have a staff of 2 other people. I can only take on so many projects at a time. Other coalitions, our allies, are working on other important topics; Some of them are working on the same work that we are doing, but many of them are working on other subjects. And the National Alliance brings us all together so that we can learn from each other, we can adapt each other’s tools and approaches to driving value, we can learn not only about successes, but failures. So that we don’t spend too much time copying something that is unlikely to succeed. So, for me, the biggest advantage of the National Alliance, is that learning network.
The flip side of this is that the national coalition is representing us at the national policy level. There’s a lot going on in Washington, DC right now, as many viewers know, as well as health policy, price controls, access to care, surprising billing, all kinds of issues in many states and localities.
The National Alliance serves as a reliable source of information about what’s new in policy, what we’re thinking about, how policies can affect coalition members and their employers, and what we need to do to help them. Provides the opportunity for advocates to sign many legislative papers. Policies in the interest of our employer members. And so to me the National Coalition is a really important resource that we can draw on to provide information, knowledge, policy support and work together with other coalitions to transform the value of the health care system.
As health care evolves, what is the future role of the Coalition in managing the health of employees?
I think alliances will always have a role. Therefore, employer-sponsored health insurance doesn’t seem to be running out anytime soon. And so employers will continue to be challenged by rising healthcare costs, the continuing problem with a lack of transparency, the need to influence the health care system, which is a tough time for them. Alliances add value with an employer-sponsored health care system.
But even if employer-sponsored insurance were to go away, let’s say the federal government said, “We’re going to have Medicare for all,” and the role of employers is basically to go through and support taxes, Nevertheless, employers still have to think about the health of their employees. workforce, not only direct costs, but also indirect costs- loss of productivity, absenteeism and attendanceism, workers’ compensation claims, long-term and short-term disability claims.
And so, no matter what happens with the structure of the health care system, I believe that employers need to stay in the game, at least on the workforce health side and the community health side. And so, I am not worried about the future of the alliances. I think they play an important role and whatever happens with the health care system, we always need quality watchdogs and to make sure the quality doesn’t go down to save some money Is.
So, I’m really proud of what we’ve done, and I think the future of the alliances is bright, and I would expect to see them increasingly demonstrate their direct impact on health outcomes and pricing or pricing. are able to.