Data and convening remain the core of our work

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Data and convening remain the core of our work

It’s been an eventful summer for the Alliance, and I want to update you on the Alliance’s direction in the coming months.

As you know, the state decided to select two out-of-state vendors to run the WA-APCD, and it is fair to ask how that decision will impact the Alliance’s core work of convening and performance measurement and reporting. The Alliance will continue in our role as a trusted convener, for which we have a well-established reputation. But our work as the state’s voluntary All-Payer Claims Database is far from over. In fact, we intend to not only continue our APCD but to expand it.

The Alliance has invested eight years and millions of our members’ dollars building our APCD. The results have benefited the entire state. Washington is just one of three states in the nation that has been awarded an A in health care quality transparency by the Health Care Improvement Incentives Institute (HCI3) because of the work of the Alliance. Thanks to the work of our stakeholders, a spirit of transparency has taken hold in Washington. Without their deep collaboration and trust, the transformation that we all seek in health care in our state can never take place.

That’s why we’re continuing on our path to greater transparency. More importantly, that’s why our members are supporting us in that effort.  At this point, we have firm commitments to continue receiving data submissions from all of the commercial health plans and are well on our way to gaining commitments from Medicaid Managed Care Organizations, with agreement already from Molina and Coordinated Care. On the self-insured side, Boeing, the Association of Washington Cities and King County have already committed to continue to supply data to the Alliance’s APCD and we have little doubt that our other current self-insured data suppliers will support us as well.

There was not a moment of hesitation from any of our current data partners to continue in their support of the Alliance’s voluntary effort. This is a real testament to the depth of our collaborative relationships and the mutual trust that exists. We plan to build upon this trust and to bring in new data suppliers to build this community resource that has data from 2004 on more than four million Washingtonians.

Building upon this strong foundation, we will be expanding the analyses that we produce. We plan to focus more attention on overuse and resource utilization. For example, we have had conversations with Alliance committees this month about reproducing our Different Regions, Different Care report on geographic variation in treatment and services, including opioid prescribing, at the medical group and clinic level.

We are currently adding neurology and orthopedics and ob-gyn specialty groups to our physician clinic rosters, and will be adding others to further analyze specialty care. We also plan to expand our work with the Choosing Wisely initiative and make use of Milliman’s Health Waste Calculator to expand our analysis in this area. In addition, we have plans in the works to create additional products and services that help employers move to value-based purchasing, engage them in the process and create the demand for change.

We will, of course, continue reporting on quality, aligning our efforts with the Washington State Common Measure Set for Health Care Quality and Cost. This fall, we will be reporting the second set of results for the Common Measure Set; for the first time, we will be reporting on medical groups and clinics of four or more providers in every county in the state. We are in the final stages preparing to launch a new Community Checkup website, which will feature enhanced interactivity and data visualizations.

In summary, we will continue to produce the types of reports and analyses that have earned the Alliance a national reputation for promoting transparency. And we will continue in our important role as convener as we strive to move data from mere information to action—the crucial process for transforming our health care system. The community values the Alliance as the trusted, unbiased third party measuring care delivery in our state. We work hard to earn that continued trust every day.

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