How Low Can You Go?

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How Low Can You Go?

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Seattle Business magazine awards gala to recognize Health Care Leaders in the state. It was wonderful to see Alliance members and allies, and to take a moment to acknowledge the important work we do.

This year, the Alliance recognized outstanding performers from our third edition of First, Do No Harm, using the Milliman MedInsight Health Waste Calculator to calculate how much unnecessary or likely unnecessary care was delivered to Washington residents of the 47 tests, treatments, and procedures commonly regarded as overused by Choosing Wisely and the US Preventive Services Task Force.

The evening was a wonderful opportunity to honor two shining examples of how we in Washington state are reducing unnecessary care and the emotional, physical, and financial harm that often cascades from it. Because of the patients they serve, that is top of mind for Dr. Mia Shim, the Medical Officer of the Community Health Services Division for Public Health—Seattle & King County, recognized for delivering the lowest number of low-value treatments in the state for the Medicaid-insured, at 46% fewer than average services at a 54% lower than average cost per month.

“Our patients may not have the basic resources or education to navigate our complex health systems, so they really need us to be thoughtful and adaptive about what brings them value. For their sake, we need to avoid unnecessary tests and treatments, which can be both harmful and costly.” Dr. Shim credits their performance in First, Do No Harm to Public Health—Seattle & King County’s long history of providing patient-centered evidence-based care, explaining that they were “very early in recognizing the hazard of overprescribing controlled substances, including opioids, and developing clinical teams to oversee and standardize controlled substance prescribing practice more than ten years ago.”

Dr. Shim says they have a bottom-up approach to providing value, “many of the best ideas come from people who see patients every day. So, it’s important that they have dedicated time for quality improvement work that is tied to outcome. To deliver value, we must both improve the quality of services and reduce costs, and the frontline staff are leaders in achieving value.”

I also took a moment to acknowledge PeaceHealth Medical Group for its outstanding performance for the commercially-insured population, delivering 37% lower than the average number of low-value treatment and 35% less than the average spent monthly.

It was a pleasure to recognize them and to see these Alliance members and organizations honored for their valuable contributions:

    • Lisa Brandenburg, Chief Health System Officer at UW Medicine (Outstanding Medical Center Executive-Puget Sound);
    • Dr. Nancy Davidson, Executive Director and President, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (Outstanding Medical Group Executive);
    • Dr. Craig Hampton, Medical Director of Cardiac Surgery at CHI Franciscan (Outstanding Medical Director);
    • Dr. Rick Ludwig, Interim CEO of Pacific Medical Centers and Medical Director of U.S. Family Health Plan at Pacific Medical Centers (Lifetime Achievement Award);
    • Dr. Glenn Lux, President/CEO, Allegro Pediatrics (Outstanding Medical Group Executive);
    • Dr. Aileen Mickey, Chief Medical Officer at EvergreenHealth Medical Group (Outstanding Chief Medical Officer);
    • Dr. Jay Shendure, UW School of Medicine & Brotman Baty Insititute for Precision Medicine (Achievement in Medical Research); and
    • CHI Franciscan Mission Control Center and Confluence Health | Central Washington Hospital (Innovation in Health Care Delivery).

A heart-felt congratulations to all!

All the best,

Nancy A. Giunto

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