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IMPAQ President Discusses Path to Quality-Based Payments at Fourth National Accountable Care Organization Summit

Washington, DC

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June 18, 2013

Dr. Cary Sennett, IMPAQ’s President and a nationally recognized expert in quality and quality measurement, participated on a panel on “The Path to Quality-Based Payments: Looking Ahead” at the Fourth National Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Summit in Washington, D.C., on June 13th, 2013.

The annual summit brings together leading policymakers, experts, and ACO implementers to provide unique and in-depth insights on ACO implementation, ongoing health care reform efforts, and the remaining barriers to widespread ACO implementation.

Moderated by Craig E. Samitt, President and Chief Executive Officer, Dean Health Systems, the panel also included James E. Barr, Chief Medical Officer, Optimus Healthcare Partners ACO; Lewis G. Sandy, Executive Vice President, Clinical Advancement, UnitedHealth Group; and consulting actuary and author Greger Vigen.

Dr. Samitt kicked off the discussion by laying out the challenges facing health care organizations seeking to reimburse for value. The panelists then considered the challenges and opportunities facing the marketplace as it moves from “paying for volume” to “paying for value.”

In that setting, Dr. Sennett emphasized the need to focus on standardized outcome measures—to enable buyers to more capably assess value in a way that permits meaningful comparison. However, he argued, process measures were also critical—especially to providers (those who “produce” healthcare)—as they are more actionable.

Dr. Sennett added, however, that those process measures may not need to be so meticulously standardized—that allowing provider organizations to develop process measures that reflect more closely their unique cultures and capabilities (and that allow those organizations to optimize measures, given their particular (and often unique) data assets) may lead to more acceptable and more useful measures to inform organizational improvement.

Asked to comment on the ROI associated with measures—which some perceive as adding considerable cost to the healthcare system—Dr. Sennett responded: “What is the ROI associated with hospitals? I don’t think ROI is the right question: a capable system for evaluating quality of care—like a hospital—is infrastructure that is necessary to delivering high value health care.”

“The question we should be asking is: how do we build that measurement system, effectively and efficiently?” he added.

To access a webcast of this panel, please click here.

For more information on the Fourth Annual ACO Summit, please click here.