Senate HELP Committee Holds Hearing on Delivery Reform

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) held a hearing, May 16, entitled, Identifying Opportunities for Health Care Delivery System Reform: Lessons from the Front Line to hear from private sector innovators that have achieved results.

 Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) chaired the hearing as part of his continuing effort to raise awareness about opportunities to reform the health care system through innovation and care delivery. During the hearing he identified five priority areas of delivery system reform, which include payment reform, primary and preventive care, measuring and reporting quality, administrative simplification, and health information technology. 

Al Kurose, MD, President and CEO of Coastal Medical, Providence, RI, noted that their patient centered medical home (PCMH) has benefited from the federal government incentive programs and patients have seen results. Patient readmission rates have been reduced and total cost of care has only increased slightly. Coastal Medical patients now have increased access to primary care services and access to a web portal where they can see their health records. Dr. Kurose stated that they are still analyzing patient data to fully understand how to reduce costs.

Marcia James, Director of Provider Engagement, Humana, Louisville, KY, described their provider collaborations that are driven by best practice health IT arrangements.

James Capretta, Fellow, American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC, asserted that fee-for-service is the cause of systemic deficiency in health care delivery that needs to be addressed. He stated that volume driven Medicare is the problem and that the results from accountable care organization (ACO) pilot programs are disappointing.