The NAM Leadership Consortium today announced the Emerging Fairer & Stronger from COVID-19: the National Commission on Investment Imperatives for a Healthy Nation (the Commission). This new initiative aims to advance transformative improvements in the U.S. health system, motivated by and based on lessons learned from deadly shortfalls experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Commission will be a partnership enterprise, including leadership from the New England Journal of Medicine, which will bring strong experience in communication of findings, and a coalition of locally oriented health and social service philanthropies from throughout the nation convened by Missouri Foundation for Health. This coalition will provide front-line insights for the work and will cultivate on-the-ground implementation strategies for improved health system alignment and performance among local and regional organizations. The Commission will identify priority measures for transforming alignment across sectors to avoid the tragic shortfalls experienced acutely during the pandemic, but long present as basic health system weaknesses.

“Now more than ever, we need strong collaboration toward our common interest of advancing health system effectiveness, efficiency, equity, and continuous learning. The Leadership Consortium is well-positioned to leverage stakeholder leaders from across the nation and expertise in science, informatics, incentives, and culture to provide evidence-based guidance that enables progress,” says Mark McClellan, founding Director of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke University.

The Commission will examine the three core cross-sectoral challenges of health system fragmentation, misaligned incentives, and structural inequities, describing their characteristics and identifying strategic actions and policies to remedy them.

“As a nation, we have long been contending with fragmentation and misaligned incentives as two fundamental challenges to system performance. The experience of the pandemic has tragically brought home the extent to which they have also been drivers of intolerable health inequities,” says Director of the Center for Medicare, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Meena Seshamani.

The Commission will be comprised of independent thought leaders collectively charged with overseeing the five expert-led work streams that aim to transform health system alignment and performance while also advancing social justice:

  • Funding & accountability: What is required for payment and accountability that actually drives performance, not volume?
  • People & communities: What approaches can best ensure that priority decision points reside with patients, families, communities?
  • Equity & fairness: How can the best insights from behavioral science be employed at every level to bridge groups and cultures?
  • Data & digital architecture: What policies are needed for a seamless digital architecture to ensure maximum quality and learning?
  • Capital flow returns: What can foster capital investments that best advance the nation’s health and economic well-being?

“Ultimately, we have to recognize that, from the onset, our health system clearly did not evolve with equity and engagement in mind,” notes President and CEO of Missouri Foundation for Health, Dwayne Proctor. “As we seek the performance the American people expect and deserve, we must pay special attention to dismantling the structural barriers that prevent far too many people, in particular people of color, from realizing better health.”

Each work stream will undertake two tasks: 1) producing a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the potential health and economic gains from achieving the work stream’s goal and the consequences of inaction, and 2) conducting a review of policy and cultural changes needed to realize the transformative aim. Commissioners will then develop a composite report summarizing the findings across the work streams, highlighting the potential opportunities and consequences, and recommending the priority actions for aligning strategies across stakeholders.

The Commission and guiding priorities follow a two-year, in-depth assessment sponsored by the NAM Leadership Consortium review of the impact of COVID-19 on nine key health sectors. The impact assessments were conducted by senior national leaders from each sector, who also identified cross-cutting system-wide impacts, consequences, and priorities. The results were recently released in the NAM Special Publication Emerging Stronger after COVID-19, including an overview summary leading to the formation of the Commission.

The NAM Leadership Consortium (LC) is composed of senior national leaders from the various public and private components of the U.S. health system—e.g., patients, clinicians, delivery systems, payers, public health agencies, informaticians, quality assurance and improvement agencies—with a common commitment to improving health system effectiveness, efficiency, equity, and continuous learning.

Learn more about the initiatives mentioned in this release:

For media inquiries, contact:
Megan Lowry, Media Relations Manager
Office of News and Public Information
202-334-2138; e-mail

For questions about the initiatives, contact:

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