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Our second day of health panels at last week’s CSG/ERC annual meeting in Burlington VT started with a set of talks on value-based purchasing and how states can take advantage of this critical health reform trend. Value-based purchasing reorients financial incentives to align all stakeholders and reward improvements in health. The current fee-for-service system rewards volume over value; costs skyrocket but quality doesn’t follow. If we pay separately for each test and procedure, regardless of value, it should not be surprising that we get more tests and procedures. Panelists included Doug Emery of Bridges to Excellence, Frank Johnson from Maine’s state employee health plan and Susan McDonald from the Minnesota Governor’s Health Cabinet.

The second panel included speakers from Vermont updating policymakers about their ambitious reforms passed in 2006 and concerns about maintaining their progress under federal health reform plans. VT’s reforms include over 60 different programs including covering the uninsured, medical homes, chronic disease management and a nationally acclaimed health information exchange. VT’s uninsured rate has dropped by almost a quarter since the reforms were implemented. Speakers included Jim Hester, Director of the legislative Health Care Reform Commission, Susan Besio, Director of Medicaid, Hunt Blair, Deputy Director of VT Health Care Reform, Cy Jordan, Medical Director of the VT Program for Quality Health Care, and Sen. Jane Kitchel.
Ellen Andrews