Health Care :: Mayo Clinic Health Policy Center releases recommendations to advance health care reform

Mayo Clinic Health Policy Center announced 19 recommendations to improve American health care, including a move from employer-based insurance to portable, individual-based coverage.

Over the past year and a half, Mayo Clinic Health Policy Center has convened more than 400 providers, academics, medical industry leaders, business people, insurers, political leaders and patient advocates in a series of policy forums and small group events to find common ground on health care reform. Four areas of reform emerged from the discussion:

Universal insurance coverage: Provide health insurance and access to basic health care for all Americans — regardless of their ability to pay.

Coordinated care: Patient care services must be coordinated across people, functions, activities, sites and time to increase value. Patients must be active participants in this process.

Value: Increase quality and patient satisfaction. Decrease medical errors, costs and waste.

Payment reform: Change the way providers are paid to improve health and minimize waste.

“This effort, which included many disparate voices, shows that agreement on health care reform is possible,” says Denis Cortese, M.D., president and CEO of Mayo Clinic. “My hope is that these principles will set a vision for the country.”

Across the board, the recommendations focus on better meeting patients” needs. Examples include:

Realign the health system toward improving health rather than treating disease.

Define “value” based on the needs and preferences of patients, measurable outcomes, safety and service and costs over time. Then, pay providers based on value.

Measure and publicize treatment outcomes, patient satisfaction scores and costs as a whole. Use this data to foster competition.

Create payment systems with incentives for physicians and hospitals to coordinate and improve care.

The Mayo Clinic Health Policy Center is distributing the recommendations to members of Congress and others involved in health care reform. In addition, the recommendations will frame the discussion at the Mayo Clinic National Symposium on Health Care Reform, to be held outside Washington, D.C., in March 2008. Participants at that event will rank priorities and shape an action plan for patient-centered health care reform.

Mayo Clinic launched its nonpartisan policy center two years ago. “If experience has taught us anything at Mayo Clinic, it is the successful practice of bringing the best minds together to solve the most complex patient problems,” says Robert Smoldt, executive director, Mayo Clinic Health Policy Center. “Through its policy center, Mayo Clinic is using the same approach to health care reform, while keeping the debate grounded in the real-world needs of patients.”

During the fall and winter of 2007, the policy center will seek deeper patient input through focus groups, a national survey and other means to offer the public an opportunity to lend their individual voices to the health care reform debate. A cross-section of consumers — various ages, genders, races, life stages and medical conditions — will be represented.

“We”re either going to solve this together, or it isn”t going to get done,” says Don Berwick, M.D., Institute for Healthcare Improvement and a participant in policy center activities. “Mayo has brought together a wide array of stakeholders, people with varying opinions and different positions, struggling with the same problem. Maybe we”re going to find some daylight together.”

Leave a Comment