It is clear that the rising costs and declining health outcomes are driving change.
Change is coming in the nation’s health care system, and it’s not because of health care reform that was passed by Congress in 2010.
Based on recent discussions with and public statements by the heads of Rhode Island’s three commercial health care insurers, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, UnitedHealthcare of New England and Tufts Health Plan, as well as continuing reports on the health of U.S. citizens, it is clear that the rising costs and declining health outcomes are driving change, no matter the ultimate resolution of the court challenges to federal reform.
Blue Cross is promoting the patient-centered medical-home model of integrated care, as well as “value-based” products that use financial tools to trim costs.
United pointed to a mobile Web app that supports easy access to health data and service providers.
And Tufts talked about its new low-cost, closed-network health plan, which it has introduced in Massachusetts in cooperation with Steward Health Care, which is in the process of purchasing Landmark Medical Center and is likely to try to buy more Rhode Island hospitals and put together a similar program here.
All these innovations attack the fundamental premise that health care in the United States is taking up too much of the nation’s GDP while not delivering a healthy population. It is important that change to health care delivery not lose momentum as the details of health care payment reform play themselves out over the coming months and years. •