by Dianne Kiehl
The QualityPath™ Initiative – Identifying Value in Health Care
From the Executive Director

I am pleased to announce a major new initiative in collaboration with The Alliance, the business health care coalition based in Madison. The initiative, called QualityPath™, will identify health care providers who deliver value – high quality at a reasonable price. Patterned after a centers/physicians of excellence approach, the initiative aims to identify hospitals and physicians as centers of value that – when working together – meet defined, proven standards for delivering quality care for certain procedures.

Both the BHCG and The Alliance are committed to speaking with one voice to our provider partners when it comes to defining quality. This will give providers a consistent message and provide employees and dependents with information they can use when seeking elective procedures. Another clear advantage of working in partnership with The Alliance is the ability of our two organizations to share in the developmental costs of the initiative.

Gail Amundson, M.D., who most recently served as the president and chief executive officer of Quality Quest for Health in Illinois and as the medical director for Quality at HealthPartners in Minnesota, has been retained as a consultant to assist us with this initiative. Dr. Amundson has extensive experience in quality measurement and its application to improve health care delivery.

Currently, we are starting to analyze publicly reported quality data. During this process we will be soliciting provider input to assist us in defining and measuring quality. Our initial focus for the initiative will be non-emergent cardiac procedures – specifically bypass and angioplasty procedures. The ultimate structure of the initiative will be determined by what this data tells us. Regardless of the initiative’s ultimate structure, several basic tenets will guide its development, including:

  • Quality is the threshold that must be met before consideration will be given to any provider to be designated as a center of value.
  • Facility and physician performance will only be rated on quality and cost metrics in combination. Both must meet the evidenced-based quality threshold and have costs that are deemed reasonable in order to be deemed a center of value.
  • All facility and physician pairings that meet the quality threshold and have market competitive costs can be designated.

Over the past couple of months, I have met with most of the major provider systems in our area and I am pleased to report the reaction from the provider community has been positive. They understand why employers need to take an approach that has the opportunity to deliver the best value for their health care expenditures. Their primary concern – and one we need to consider in the design of the initiative – is how this program will impact care integration that the provider systems are working diligently to attain.

We expect to finish defining the cardiac procedures metrics by mid-2014. We are excited to be taking the next step in creating a health care market that identifies value. Look for further updates concerning QualityPath in the ensuing months.

Return to The Catalyst