by Dianne Kiehl
Looking back…and ahead
From the Executive Director

2012 was a year of significant accomplishments for our organization. Our accomplishments offer further proof that we are continuing to make strides to move the health care market in southeast Wisconsin. In 2013 we plan to continue this forward momentum with a number of initiatives designed to drive meaningful change in our market.

2012 in review….a strategy that's working
Accomplishments in 2012 were many, highlighted by:

  • Superior cost results – outperforming the market As reported in previous editions of The Catalyst newsletter this year, BHCG member employers have outperformed southeast Wisconsin, the Midwest and the nation with respect to health care costs,  May 2012.  In addition, self-funded member employers’ health care costs rose at a slower rate than the market in both the most recent year and over the past six years (since the inception of the contracted provider network), August 2012.
  • Assisting health care consumers to make informed decisions This year the BHCG entered into an agreement with Best Doctors, Inc., a Boston-based global health company, to offer Best Doctors’ innovative consumer health care decision making program to BHCG self-funded employer members. The majority of the self-funded employer members will be implementing the program by January.  Also, beginning in January, Humana will provide the program to fully insured employers who purchase the HPN plan offering.  Since our inception, we have been thoroughly committed to assisting employees in becoming better health care consumers. Offering the outstanding services of Best Doctors is another step forward in meeting that commitment.
  • Our first public annual meeting With approximately 150 members, providers, brokers/consultants and strategic partners in attendance, the BHCG conducted our first public annual meeting at The Rumble at the Harley-Davidson Museum® on September 27.  The meeting, entitled Joined at the Hip – Outperforming the Market, was highlighted by a keynote address from Paul Purcell, chairman, president and CEO at Robert W. Baird & Co. and the presentation of the inaugural BHCG Driving Meaningful Change Award, given to the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ). Additionally, we presented awards to three sales distributors/brokers for their support of the BHCG in 2011.
  • First Membership Resource Books Recently we distributed our first Membership Resource Guides – one for our fully insured members and another for our self-funded members.  These online guides are your “go to” source for a wealth of information about our organization including our history, strategies, initiatives, results, resources and where to get answers to your questions – all in one convenient place.  We will continually update the Books online, to make sure you have access to the most current information.
  • Strategic planning at the forefront Throughout the year we engaged in a rigorous strategic planning process involving our employer leadership, consultants and BHCG staff.  This process has resulted in the establishment of several strategic imperatives. (See below).
  • Assessing employer’s consumer accountability strategies We engaged Towers Watson to develop a consumer accountability best practice scorecard with the goals of:
    •  Assessing the impact of BHCG member employers’ health benefit offerings and strategies on consumer accountability and engagement and
    • Providing member employers with a score to compare to their BHCG counterparts and national trends.

Composite results were shared with the BHCG and employers received individual reports about their performance.

2013….continuing the momentum
In 2013 we plan to continue to build on the successes of 2012 and launch new initiatives designed to continue to lead the market.

  • Working with our strategic partners The BHCG has always clearly understood that neither a single employer nor one organization was large enough to have the positive impact on the cost and quality of health care that we desire.  We work with other multi-stakeholder organizations in the state to effect change in our health care delivery system. We support their work through participation on their boards and communicating their essential work to our members and interested stakeholders.  In 2013 we plan to continue our support of and work with the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ), the Partnership for Healthcare Payment Reform (PHPR), the Wisconsin Health Information Organization (WHIO), the Wisconsin Health Information Exchange (WHIE), the Wisconsin Statewide Health Information Network (WISHIN) and the Statewide Value Committee.
  • Pharmacy benefits costs, a looming crisis In my letter in the August 2012 edition of this newsletter, I wrote about the alarming increases in pharmacy benefit costs. In the coming year, the BHCG plans to make the effective management of pharmacy benefits an educational priority.  Look for more information in the coming months about our plans to help our member employers get a handle on the increasing cost of pharmacy benefits.
  • Addressing the transformation of our health care market With Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) gaining a foothold in the market and the implementation of additional elements of the Affordable Care Act, change is going to continue to roil our health care market.  The progress we made during 2012 in setting our strategic direction will serve us well as we address the emerging market trends in 2013.  We will continue to hone our strategies, while relying on these principles established during our strategic planning process in 2012:
    • A focus on continuing to push for accountability in both directions – from health care consumers and providers   
    • An acknowledgement that while unit costs for care remain important, we must address the total cost of care as well
    • The importance of rewarding providers for quality and cost effective outcomes
    •  Payment reform is a critical element to drive change

We have achieved a great many things in 2012 and I look forward to your continued support as our successes grow in the New Year.  Thank you for your time and commitment to our goals.  The BHCG provides the only unified voice for health care purchasers in the market and we intend to maintain and expand that role in the New Year.  Here’s hoping you all have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013!

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