Dr Shantanu Agrawal Explains How Payment Models Can Reduce Health Disparities

Shantanu Agrawal, MD, MPhil, CEO and president of National Quality Forum, recognizes the importance of diminishing health disparities.

How can payment models be used to reduce disparities and promote health equity?
Payment models, I think, hold a lot of promise as long as [we are] making sure we are focused on a lot of health inequities as an area that we have to address and remedy. So payment models can literally introduce financial approaches that make it sensible from a financial standpoint for health systems, clinicians, other healthcare providers to intervene in on health inequities, and I think when you transition to greater levels of capitation, that focus on social risk factors I think increases and arguably there’s a greater even financial drive to have an impact on these various social risk factors.

Beyond that kind of approach, we should be asking the question whether the health system should be financed differently so that we are all working together and incentivizing remedying these various inequities and disparities. That kind of question I think is more than just alternative payment models it’s really what is the healthcare system geared towards from a financing standpoint, what should it be geared towards. I think it’s a discussion that we really have to engage in now given from the impact that we see from these issues.
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