FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Contact: HHS Press Office
HHS Secretary Leavitt Unveils Plan for “Value Exchanges” to Report on Health Care Quality and Cost at Local level
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt today unveiled a plan for chartering local collaborative organizations that are working to improve quality and value in health care by assessing the performance of local health care providers and reporting these findings publicly. The plan would bring the local collaboratives into a nation-wide system, and the collaboratives would use nationally-recognized standards to measure and improve quality of care in their local areas.
"This plan is about giving consumers good information to make decisions about their health care, and giving providers information to help them improve care," Secretary Leavitt said. "It's also about hard work and trust. At the local level, providers and purchasers can meet eye-to-eye and achieve the trust that must underlie a system of improvement based on more open information."
Under the plan, HHS would select qualified regional collaboratives to be chartered as Value Exchanges. In such collaboratives, local area physicians, nurses, hospitals and other health care providers are working collaboratively with health plans, employers, unions and other health care purchasers to achieve reliable public reporting on quality and cost of care. As HHS-chartered Value Exchanges, they would continue to focus on quality improvement and would provide public reports on the performance of providers in their area.
The plan for Value Exchanges is part of the Value-Driven Health Care Initiative, a public-private effort launched by Secretary Leavitt last year to improve quality and lower costs in health care delivery. The first element of this Initiative, which is still on-going, aims at national coordination by calling on all health care stakeholders to commit to public reporting on quality and costs, including recognition of consensus standards of care. The initiative also supports interoperable health information technology and incentives for value purchasing in health care.
The Value Exchanges would be independent, non-profit organizations. In recent years, a number of collaboratives of this kind have been created independently in communities throughout the country. The new plan would help bring such collaboratives into a national system, as well as stimulating more communities to create such collaboratives. It would also create a national Learning Network to help the chartered Value Exchanges move quickly to expand and improve quality assessment.
Secretary Leavitt said that HHS will invite initial applicants to be chartered as Value Exchanges. HHS will also stimulate development of more collaboratives by formally recognizing early community efforts to bring stakeholders together for quality improvement and reporting.
The system would include two types of collaboratives:
- Community Leaders -- Less-developed collaboratives, especially those aiming at growth in stakeholder participation and quality measurement capacity.
- Value Exchanges -- Collaboratives that best meet criteria and are selected by HHS to be chartered and carry out quality improvement and public reporting.
Advanced collaboratives that meet additional criteria may qualify to pool their data with Medicare data for broadest-based measurement of provider performance and quality outcomes.
Existing local and regional collaboratives that have developed independently in recent years would be expected to form the initial core of Value Exchanges receiving HHS charters. In addition, six existing collaboratives were selected last year to pioneer the process of pooling local and Medicare data, under Medicare's “Better Quality Information to Improve Care for Medicare Beneficiaries” program. The six pilots will continue to function as special Medicare demonstrations.
In measuring providers' performance and publicly reporting the findings, the Value Exchanges would use nationally-recognized standards. These standards, developed through public-private efforts, also form the basis for ongoing Medicare quality and performance reporting. The Exchanges could also pioneer new quality improvement strategies and share results through the Learning Network.
The new system would be administered by HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., said providers would lead in the development of standards.
"The goal is to achieve both national coordination in developing standards and local control in applying them," Secretary Leavitt said. "The Value-Driven Health Care Initiative is aiming at both of these goals -- and at the same time, aiming to keep control in the private and professional sectors. The federal government can help organize -- but providers, purchasers and consumers themselves must be in charge and make the system work."
For more information: www.hhs.gov/transparency.
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Last revised: January 20, 2009