Transparency, Quality and Cost Containment

HR Policy strongly supports public policy actions to advance vastly improved transparency, quality and cost containment in the U.S. healthcare system.  We have adopted the following positions related to policy specific topics that would advance our broader goals.

PROVIDER PUBLIC REPORTING AND PAYMENT REFORM:  HR Policy Association supports rules to strengthen public reporting of the performance of all providers so they are incented to provide high quality, cost effective care.  We also support similar federal reporting and financial incentives for health plans and insurers relative to their role in the health care supply chain.  The Association supports using standard, publicly reported measures that help consumers select providers, treatments and health plans.  Regulations should link provider payments to a standard set of measures on the cost and quality of care, but should not prohibit employers, health plans and other entities from adding to these standard measures to fill any gaps in how providers are measured.

MEDICARE DATA ACCESS:  HR Policy Association strongly supports PPACA’s provision giving private entities access to Medicare data for use in measuring health care provider cost and quality.  The new rules allow certain organizations access to patient-protected Medicare data to produce public reports on hospitals, physicians, and other health care providers.  This data, combined with data from private sector medical claims, will assist employer-sponsored plans in identifying which physicians and hospitals provide the most cost-effective and highest quality care.  

SAFETY AND QUALITY:  HR Policy Association supports the Department of Health and Human Services’ efforts to reduce hospital-acquired complications and readmissions and other similar programs by using its influence as a public health care purchaser for Medicare and Medicaid to advance safety and quality improvements.  

ACCOUNTABLE CARE ORGANIZATIONS:  ACOs were included in PPACA as a new category of integrated health care providers under Medicare with the idea that providers would collaborate to offer more accountable, effective, and efficient care and would benefit from a share of the savings they achieved.  HR Policy Association supports the concept of more effective coordination of care and enterprise accountability through ACOs and other equivalent entities.  However, we are concerned about the potential unintended consequence of having ACOs develop in a way which could lead to excessive provider consolidation that could undermine competition.  The Association will closely monitor the early development of these new entities and their potential impact on long-term competition.  Employers should also pay attention to this potential issue if they seek to adopt the ACO concept as part of their long-term benefit strategy.