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Banner Health leads the way at improving care for patients

Posted Nov 30 2011 3:01pm

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

By Ed Howe
Former CEO, Aurora Health Care

Banner Health is among the first in the country to embrace a new way of doing business. The healthcare organization is teaming up with Aetna and is agreeing that they will meet certain measures when it comes to quality, efficiency and patient satisfaction. Reimbursement rates from Aetna will be determined by how well Banner meets the established goals.

Banner Health Network , a newly formed physician network, will seek to lower costs and provide better quality care by promoting wellness and identifying health risks. If doctors can manage or treat health problems before they worsen, patients are less likely to require a costly stay in a hospital. That is the entire point of this endeavor. Manage chronic health issues before they turn into major health problems which drain the system. This is about engaging people in their health and helping them take ownership and responsibility.

These types of arrangements are a window into the future. The key to success is the comparative data that the insurance companies have access to. Medicare should be aggressively trying to use its own data set in the same way.

Those of us who have worked in the field know that improved quality is the key to reducing healthcare costs. Only when Medicare and health insurance companies start paying for quality, instead of any test and procedure that may not be needed, will we solve our cost and quality problems.

We need more of these contracts that Banner and Aetna have signed. Let their leadership be an example to others to take the first step.

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