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Michael Thompson Discusses Value-Based Care Among Employers

Employers are looking for ways to advocate for their employees and invest in places that will reduce downstream costs, said Michael Thompson, president and chief executive officer of the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions.


Employers are looking for ways to advocate for their employees and invest in places that will reduce downstream costs, said Michael Thompson, president and chief executive officer of the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions.

Transcript

How has value-based care affected employer-sponsored benefit design?

You know, employers have one of the more balanced perspectives in terms of healthcare. They want their employees to get the care they need, but of course, they are paying the bill and they want it to be efficient, as well, and not wasted. I think we’ve moved in some ways to give consumers more control over the spend for healthcare, but frankly, it’s very difficult for them to navigate the system that is largely guided by their physicians and whatnot.

So, increasingly, I think employers are trying to advocate for their employees to give them better information to actually help them to navigate their choices in the system appropriately.

What innovations in healthcare management are producing higher value care at lower costs?

There’s a couple of areas that I think are very promising. One is that the area of advocacy. Patients have a very difficult time navigating the system, and I think when you actually give them support to understand what their choices are and to navigate those choices, it can make a big difference. We’ve actually seen the impact of that, not just in terms of improving their use of services, but actually having an impact on cost, as well. It actually has reduced the trend in cost and has had very high satisfaction, as well.

Another area that I think has been very positively received has been what I would call advanced primary care, where we invest in primary care. It has tended to have had a reduction in downstream costs. Whether it’s referrals to specialists, but also the use of emergency room, urgent care centers, or hospital visits. And so, increasingly, I think, we’re trying to figure out how to spend smarter on the front end to impact downstream costs.

 
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