By Harold Ambler
By Harold Ambler
PROVIDENCE – On Dec. 2, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Lt. Gov. Elizabeth H. Roberts met with leaders of Rhode Island’s health care industry to discuss how key reforms, some of which are part of the Affordable Care Act, are improving health care quality and lowering health spending in the state.
During the roundtable, representatives from Coastal Medical, Blue Cross Blue Shield Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Quality Institute, Care New England, and the Chronic Care Sustainability Initiative–RI discussed how each of their organizations is working to reform the state’s unsustainable delivery system and payment models.
“While Washington is transfixed by a botched website launch, Rhode Island health care leaders are steadily implementing reforms that improve the quality of care and can lower the cost for Rhode Island patients,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “Our state’s leadership on health care reform will help make health care more efficient and affordable. And we built a pretty good website, too!”
“This roundtable discussion is a tremendous opportunity for innovators in our state’s healthcare industry to discuss how to move our state closer to a sustainable healthcare model,” said Roberts, chair of the Rhode Island Healthcare Reform Commission. “I’m grateful that Senator Whitehouse embraces meaningful health reform, and supports our efforts to achieve measurable improvement in the health and productivity of all Rhode Islanders, while decreasing the overall cost of care.”
“There is an unprecedented level of collaboration between providers, insurers and the state as we work to provide more affordable care and to make Rhode Island the healthiest state in the US,” said Peter Andruszkiewicz, president and ceo, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island. “Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is committed to this work. There is more to be done, but Rhode Island can stake a claim as a national leader in this movement.”
A variety of studies have estimated that it is possible to save anywhere from $700 billion to $1 trillion per year in the U.S. health care system, without harming the quality of care. The Affordable Care Act contains more than 40 provisions aimed at achieving those savings by improving the delivery of care. Rhode Island has also long been laying the groundwork to be a leader in these reforms, including efforts to expand the use of health information technology and patient-centered medical homes.