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alliance-blog

The Launch of the Low Back Pain Implementation Collaborative

Almost all people will experience low back pain sometime during their lives. Unfortunately, many of them will not receive high quality health care to treat it. In fact, you can compare the rate for providers avoiding the use of X-ray, MRI and CT scans for low back pain using the latest data from the Alliance’s Community Checkup report for people with commercial insurance and Medicaid here.

Working to improve the delivery of evidence-based care for low back pain by all stakeholder groups, the second phase of the Washington Health Alliance’s Driving Value Project, the Low Back Pain Implementation Collaborative (Collaborative), met as an all-stakeholder group for the first time on February 3rd. Committed to this project are 29 participants, with the majority from purchaser organizations, but also including commercial insurance plans, large provider groups, and several other important organizations, such as the Bree Collaborative, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, and the American Physical Therapy Association.

Alliance Executive Director Nancy Giunto said, “We are so appreciative of our partners on this project. It’s an exciting opportunity for us to not only make a significant difference to thousands of people across Washington state but potentially serve as a model for the nation and help millions.” As part of the Collaborative, there will be individual stakeholder meetings to address the unique issues facing health plans, providers, and purchasers. Priorities include:

  • benefit design changes to best support employee and members returning to function with optimal health outcomes for purchasers;
  • changes to contracts with provider groups to support the use of evidence-based care and patient awareness for plans; and
  • identifying evidence-based practices and supporting changes to workflows that support delivery of high-value care for providers.

During the kickoff meeting, the Alliance heard from:

  • Andrew Friedman, MD, Section Head of Physician Medicine & Rehabilitation, Virginia Mason Medical Center; Chief of Physiatry, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health; Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Rehabilitation, University of Washington; and Chair, Industrial Insurance Medical Advisory Committee, Department of Labor.
  • Joshua Liao, MD, MSc, FACP, Associate Professor Medicine; Associate Chair for Health Systems, Department of Medicine; Adjunct Associate Professor, Health Systems and Population Health.
  • Mark Fendrick, MD, Director, Center for Value-Based Insurance Design; Professor, Internal Medicine, School of Medicine and Professor, Health Management and Policy, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, is also a project advisor.

It’s not too late to join this effort—if you are interested in making a difference in the quality of health care relating to low back pain across Washington state, contact Alliance Director of Purchaser Strategies Denise Giambalvo.

This project is supported by Arnold Ventures’ Provider Payment Incentives portfolio.

Published: February 4, 2022

About Washington Health Alliance

The Washington Health Alliance is a place where stakeholders work collaboratively to transform Washington state’s health care system for the better. The Alliance brings together organizations that share a commitment to drive change in our health care system by offering a forum for critical conversation and aligned efforts by stakeholders: purchasers, providers, health plans, consumers and other health care partners. The Alliance believes strongly in transparency and offers trusted and credible reporting of progress on measures of health care quality and value. The Alliance is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit with more than 185 member organizations. A cornerstone of the Alliance's work is the Community Checkup, a report to the public comparing the performance of medical groups, hospitals and health plans and offering a community-level view on important measures of health care quality (www.wacommunitycheckup.org).

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