Better Health Care Performance Would Save Thousands of Lives

ACHP Issues Challenges to Improve Care

Washington, D.C. – Simple medications and preventative health strategies could save thousands of lives and prevent serious illness if the health care system made use of proven treatments and medical findings. That’s according to Dan Wolfson, President and CEO of the Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP), an opinion supported by data in the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s (NCQA) recently released The State of Managed Care Quality 1999 report. Wolfson is challenging the health care system to adopt the preventive- and chronic-care commitment and protocols that lead to higher quality care and patient saisfaction.

“Thousands of Americans could be helped when doctors, supported by health plans, give simple, proven medical care like using appropriate medications after heart attacks, performing mammography screenings and advising smokers to quit,” said Wolfson. ” In addition to reducing deaths, billions of dollars in treatment and lost productivity costs would be saved if the nation’s health care system achieved the screening and immunization rates of the nation’s highest-performing health plans.

The screening and immunization rates are detailed in the NCQA report, and cover about half of the nation’s managed care plans. The fee-for-service sector does not participate in accountability efforts, so there is little comparative data about fee-for-service immunization or mammography rates.

“When health plans place quality at the core of their business strategies and focus on the long-term health needs of patients and communities instead of short-term profits, good things happen,” Wolfson said. “All the plans belonging to ACHP participated in the report and together surpassed the national average in every effectiveness-of-care quality indicator measured by NCQA.

“ACHP plans foster an environment where teams of providers work with patients. This is a departure from the traditional approach of an insurance industry that doesn’t encourage such partnerships,” Wolfson explained. “Clearly, there are benefits in well-managed care – preventive measures and effective practices lead to results that all health plans should be striving for.”

The Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP) is a national association of 24 independent and locally-managed health plans, currently serving over 7 million members.

Contact:

Bill Rovner:             (732) 220-1388      ; e-mail: brovner@achp.org
Aylin Gonen:             (202) 667-0901      ; e-mail: ayling@twbg.com