News Feature | February 6, 2015

Task Force Aims To Accelerate Value-Based Payment Model Shift

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Value-Based Payments

Leaders commit to shifting 75% of business to value-based arrangements by 2020.

A group of the nation’s largest healthcare systems and payers, together with purchaser and patient stakeholders, have announced the creation of a new private-sector alliance dedicated to accelerating the shift to value-based business and clinical models in the U.S. healthcare system that are aligned with improving outcomes and lowering costs.

Called the Healthcare Transformation Task Force, the alliance includes six of the nation’s top 15 health systems and four of the top 25 health insurers. The Task Force has issued a challenge to providers and payers to put 75 percent of their business into value-based arrangements that emphasize better health, better care, and lower costs by 2020.

The point of the alliance is to shift emphasis away from the amount of care being provided to a focus on improving quality while improving cost efficiency. Many healthcare systems are already experimenting with the value-based payment systems that factor cost and quality – not just quantity – of services into the equation.

The Obama Administration has been pushing for reforms in this direction for months now, and recently established goals and timelines for the historic payment shift. According to the new guidelines, by 2018 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services wants 50 percent of all ACO payments and 90 percent of all traditional Medicare payments tied to quality or value.

“We’re very much aligned and share a common goal here,” Fran S. Soistman, an executive vice president for Aetna, told The New York Times. According to Soistman, the federal government’s announcement “bodes well” for the overall effort.

“The formation of this Task Force and its ambitious goal demonstrate that the private sector embraces a value-based approach to improving care and lowering costs,” Richard J. Gilfillan, MD, CEO of Trinity Health, the Task Force’s chairman, said in the release. “We are committed to rapid, measurable change both for ourselves and our country that will improve quality and make healthcare more accessible for all American families.”

As part of its work, the Task Force “will develop timely and actionable policy and program design recommendations for the private sector, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Congress and others; new delivery and payment models; and the best-practice tools, benchmarks and approaches to implement them. Initial priorities include improving the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) model, developing common bundled payment framework and improving care for high-cost patients,” according to the release.

Among the members of the Healthcare Transformation Task Force are major providers Advocate Healthcare, Aledade, Inc., Ascension, Atrius Health, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health, Dignity Health, Heritage Provider Network, Optum., OSF HealthCare, Partners HealthCare (Massachusetts), Premier, Inc., Providence Health & Services, SCL Health, SSM Health, Trinity Health, and Tucson Medical Center Healthcare, while payer partners include Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Blue Shield of California, and Healthcare Service Corporation.