Alliance projects promote health care transparency

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Alliance projects promote health care transparency

Despite the beckoning summer sun, the Alliance team has been busier than ever working on projects that will provide value to not only our members, but to all health care consumers and purchasers in our state. Later this month we will be releasing three new reports on quality and utilization of health care, as well as a report on the quality of health plans in Washington state, which we will highlight at our next members-only All-Alliance meeting in mid-August.

Just in time for open enrollment, we will be launching a new and improved Own Your Health website aimed at helping consumers become more active participants in their own health care. Shortly after, we will be releasing the new Community Checkup website and our annual Community Checkup report, which includes the second analysis of the Washington State Common Measure Set on Health Care Quality and Cost.  We are doing a complete overhaul on the Community Checkup website, making it easier for people to find the information they need to make high-value health care decisions through easy navigation and interactive visualizations.

We continue to pursue lead organization status for the WA-APCD and are completing our application for Phase 3 of the process that includes the final written proposal. The Phase 3 proposal is due July 15th and the schedule calls for the state to notify the Apparently Successful Bidder and unsuccessful bidders on July 27th. The estimated start date of the contract is August 19th.

Our proposal has been to leverage the talent, skills and infrastructure of the Alliance and its members to serve Washington. If we are selected as the lead organization, we are confident that we can create a mandated APCD that is second to none in the nation, not only because of the high quality, secure data warehouse we expand and maintain, but because together we can move the market to recognizing and paying for high-value health care based on reports that combine quality, cost and patient experience.

Since 2008, the Alliance has worked with the National Business Coalition on Health (NBCH) to conduct a rigorous evaluation of commercial health plans in Washington state using the eValue8™ tool, and then publishing a report on the performance of commercial health plans in our market.

Five of the six commercial health plans in our market participated in eValue8 this year: Aetna, Cigna, Group Health, Regence Blue Shield and UnitedHealthcare. Group Health participated separately as an HMO and as a PPO. In June, purchasers met with the health plans for a half day each to discuss the results as well as opportunities to align purchaser and health plan strategy to improve the value of health care in Washington. The report shows there are health plans in our market that perform very well nationally on health plan performance standards as defined by the eValue8 tool. But there are still many opportunities for health plans to improve. We will release a full report later this month.

In May, Alliance staff joined 70 other Choosing Wisely grantees in Washington, D.C. for a two-day summit on the Choosing Wisely campaign. Washington’s leadership role in the national campaign was recognized. Washington state grantee partners Dr. Christopher Dale (Swedish Hospital) and Dr. Matthew Handley (Group Health Cooperative) each presented on their work to improve care at their respective health systems. Susie Dade (Alliance) and Jessica Martinson (Washington State Medical Association) spoke about collaborating with multiple organizations in order to support Choosing Wisely in our state. We were pleased to be able to build on the network of strong relationships with other grantees.

I’m looking forward to sharing with you the results of all of the Alliance team’s hard work at an upcoming All-Alliance meeting.  Thank you for your ongoing support of the Alliance.

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