You Oughtta Know

Sally Jeffcoat: SHIP-building aims to develop value-driven health care

SALLY JEFFCOAT, president and CEO, Saint Alphonsus Health SystemDecember 17, 2013 

Sally Jeffcoat.JPG

Sally Jeffcoat

The healthcare landscape is changing rapidly and has created a certain level of anxiety among businesses and business owners. These changes can be frustrating and confusing, considering there are countless implications that can affect your day-to-day operations. As business leaders, we value understanding and desire a level of control over the influences that affect our business — including healthcare changes.

That’s why understanding the new Statewide Healthcare Innovation Plan — SHIP — is so important.

Within the Affordable Care Act, there is an effort to spur health care redesign and innovation through competitive state grants funded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI).

Idaho was awarded one of the CMMI grants, and has developed the statewide innovation plan. Over the past six months, Idaho’s SHIP leadership has reviewed input from statewide focus groups and town hall meetings about how best to transform Idaho’s healthcare delivery and payment system. They are looking to ensure the new system is driven by value and improved health outcomes, as opposed to today’s fee-for-service, volume-driven system. Through SHIP, Idaho is jump-starting this transformation to value-driven care by employing a number of different strategies.

First, there have been recommendations for every patient to have a “medical home,” with a primary care team that would focus on proactive prevention and wellness rather than reactive diagnosing.

Consistent with Idaho’s culture of rugged individualism, our redesigned health care system will revolve around empowering patients to manage their own health, engaging with providers as a member of the team, customizing approaches to individuals’ health care needs, and holding the patient and delivery system accountable for outcomes.

Second, there has been pilot testing with several primary care clinics to identify and problem-solve issues and barriers. This testing provides a great head start toward increasing value and lowering cost.

Third, SHIP includes plans to set up a statewide support resource called the Idaho Healthcare Coalition, and regional collaboratives to support primary care practices as they transition to the medical home model.

Regardless if Idaho wins additional grant funding in 2014, SHIP leaders have committed that Idaho will move forward with transformation — because it is the right thing to do to achieve improved health, better health care, and lower costs.

Saint Alphonsus Health System fully supports this statewide innovation and is already on the journey toward aligning our medical practices as patient-centered medical homes. We are incorporating trained health coaches as part of the care team, working to streamline patient access for same-day appointments, and implementing proven tools to manage chronic conditions and reduce risk of complications and costly hospitalization.

While the road of the future may still seem a little uncertain for businesses and business owners, understanding systems like SHIP will be invaluable in providing employees with the right medical plans and the appropriate health resources. It is also comforting to know the health care system is moving toward a model that emphasizes prevention and lower costs for all.

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