The United States is stuck in a system of volume-based care – or fee-for-service – that drives up costs without providing better outcomes for patients. Shifting away from this volume-based approach is the best way to slow or reverse the trajectory of healthcare costs and improve the quality of care. At a time when so many Americans are looking for new solutions to high prices and poor health outcomes, value-based care can fundamentally reshape the way we approach health services.
While progress is being made, we must accelerate the move from volume-based care to value-based care. Real reform entails redefining financial incentives toward reduced costs, greater efficiencies, better health outcomes, and more person-centered care. Adopting this value-based system would reward positive effects – including preventive care and improved management of diseases and conditions with fewer complications – and discourage unnecessary and potentially harmful care.
To address this critical issue, the U.S. healthcare system must continue to move away from fee-for-service toward alternative payment models to drive down healthcare costs and improve the quality of care.
Key to this shift is the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) developing and deploying effective incentives and policies that facilitate the movement of patients, providers and health systems from fee-for-service payment systems to value-based care models.
Once successful models are identified, stakeholders should begin scaling models with enough flexibility, so they can be adapted across communities and healthcare settings.
Three common sense reforms – allowing Medicare to directly negotiate prescription drug prices with drug companies, accelerating the move to a value-based care system and requiring greater price transparency – are key to lowering healthcare costs and improving health outcomes. West Health, a family of nonprofit and nonpartisan organizations that spans research, policy and philanthropy, will convene major figures from the worlds of healthcare, business, policy and media for a national summit on how to best drive these reforms to create a system that is more transparent, competitive, affordable, person-centered, quality-driven and sustainable.
The rising cost of healthcare is a growing and major threat to our economy, our financial security and our individual health. For too long, we’ve been paying too much and not getting enough in return. The U.S. healthcare system is on an unsustainable cost trajectory. We have an urgent need to address this cost crisis so that healthcare can become more accessible and more affordable for all Americans. Now is the time.
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