Dr L. Patrick James Discusses the Continued Move Toward Value-Based Payments

The forces pushing the country toward value-based care will continue regardless of who is in control in Washington, DC, said L. Patrick James, MD, chief clinical officer for health plans and policy, medical affairs, for Quest Diagnostics.

Why do you think physicians and health plan executives so strongly beiieve that a transition to value-based care will continue regardless of who is in control of Washington, DC?
There's forces just beyond the political—that's certainly important, right, but the economic forces are probably a major driver. But there's convergence of other things, such as transparency issues—not only price but outcomes. And now that many of us that are employed are in high-deductible plans, we have more skin in the game economically.

And so I think what employers are doing, what people are feeling in terms of their own expenses, and the availability of better information, certainly on price, but quality information is coming also. So I think this will continue to drive the movement toward value.

Are there concerns that HHS Secretary Tom Price's dislike of mandatory payment pilots could slow the progression toward value-based payments?
I attended some sessions yesterday at AHIP [Institute & Expo] and Dr Patrick Conway, chief medical officer of CMS, he avoided talking about what is going on politically right now, but he just reaffirmed that there's just so many things underway now in terms of the forces driving this. If Secretary Price has certain opinions about that, they certainly would get debated and aired in the political forum, but I think many people believe—I heard it over and over again yesterday, too, whether it was Joe Swedish of Anthem or Dr Eric Topol or former Governor Mike Leavitt—I think most experts in the area and all of us in the trenches, feel like these forces will continue. There may be some bumps along the road, but it's probably going to continue because the forces are so strong.
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