Leadership Gathering Focuses on Health Care Transformation

Governors play a critical role in health care transformation and are leading innovative efforts to improve the quality of health care while reducing its cost. At the forefront of those efforts are broad statewide reforms that can serve as a catalyst for even further-reaching changes across the public and private sectors.

The National Governors Association (NGA) and the National Academy of Medicine recently joined together to host a series of state health care retreats designed to bring together key stakeholders and decision makers. Their goal was to align their common interest: improve health care performance and identify and further develop state best practices within various areas, including care delivery, purchasing, regulation and workforce development.

Over the past year, retreats were held with the governor, health policy advisor, Medicaid director and other key health care professionals in Alabama, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin. A final national meeting was held over the weekend in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Health care is one of the single largest components of state budgets, accounting for nearly a quarter of their total. That same trend of escalating health care cost can be observed within private industry and in families, who struggle every year to pay for health care. Because of those economic pressures and significant quality and efficiency concerns, momentum continues to build across the country to transform the health care system by shifting focus from volume-based care to improving health outcomes.

“The cost of health care is untenable for all states, and governors are faced with finding ways to improve health care delivery across their states while simultaneously lowering costs. Governors are uniquely situated to meet this challenge,” said NGA Executive Director Dan Crippen. “They can look across their entire state health systems to create solutions that span across both the public and private sectors. Through supporting collaborative efforts among state agencies, communities, stakeholders, payers and providers, governors can steer action toward a common vision of a transformed health care system for their state.”

“Leadership at the state level provides an essential fulcrum for meaningful health progress,” said NAM President Victor Dzau. “At the National Academy of Medicine, we are committed to helping facilitate the cooperative engagement of state policy makers and health professionals as they work to identify common priorities and opportunities, share information, and develop collaborative agendas. And it is through creative state initiatives that lessons are learned about how to ensure that the pace toward better care, better value, and better health is quickened by the best evidence.”

Taking the lessons learned from these meetings, the organizations will identify and further develop a set of best practices as well as a toolkit on how to improve quality and reduce costs using national and state-specific examples, including the migration from fee-for-service to population health and risk-based payments; integrating behavioral health into transformation; combating prescription drug heroin abuse; multi-payer alignment in payment reform and data analysis to guide and focus interventions. Various actions states could take include transforming the structure of delivery and financing systems, reforming Medicaid payment structure and contracts, improving data capabilities and addressing the overall health care workforce. The toolkit will be disseminated to governors and their health policy teams later this fall.


Jodi Omear, NGA, 202-624-5301, jomear@nga.org
Jennifer Walsh, NAM, jwalsh@nas.edu

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