DMAA Health Care Reform Principles Call for Focus on Quality, Efficiency

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Population health improvement organization calls for transformation of health care system from one of reactionary care to one focused on preventive care and promotion of health as a shared national resource. Principles include call for increased access to affordable care, incentives for value and quality, integration and care coordination, a national health data repository and other enhancements.

Like Mr. Obama, we believe our nation's economic future is tied inexorably to a more efficient, quality-focused health care system

U.S. health care reform should make improved quality and efficiency paramount and move the system's focus from reactionary care to promotion of health as a shared national resource, DMAA: The Care Continuum Alliance said today in reform principles.

"The time is now to change the current direction of health care," DMAA says in its "Principles for Health Care Reform." DMAA represents organizations and individuals dedicated to health and wellness promotion, disease management and other services along the population health improvement continuum.

In making its case for reform, DMAA references projections by the Medicare Trustees of "unsustainable" growth in federal health care spending and points to promising initiatives to lower costs by controlling overuse, underuse and misuse of care; comparing relative effectiveness of medical treatments; coordinating care; and enhancing incentives for value-based care. "However," DMAA says, "the fundamental way to address health care cost is through design and implementation of broad-scale reform to transform our health care system from one focused on reactionary care to one focused on preventive care and the promotion of health as a shared national resource."

DMAA President and CEO Tracey Moorhead says her members are encouraged by President-elect Barack Obama's vocal support for prevention and wellness and his choice of former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, a champion for value in health care, as Health and Human Services Secretary.

"Like Mr. Obama, we believe our nation's economic future is tied inexorably to a more efficient, quality-focused health care system," she says. "We must demand and receive better value for our health care dollars and align incentives across all stakeholders - providers, purchasers and consumers - toward improving the health of populations through evidence-based care."

Health care reform's goal should be to improve quality and efficiency of care for all consumers, DMAA says. Broad-scale reform must:

  • Seek to improve the health of the entire population;
  • Increase access to affordable health care coverage options;
  • Center on the needs of consumers;
  • Improve consumer health knowledge and confidence;
  • Encourage engagement and accountability for patients, their families and caregivers;
  • Reward value and quality across all payers and providers;
  • Promote integrated, coordinated care;
  • Increase the availability of primary and preventive care
  • Promote transparency of price and quality;
  • Support providers who implement health information technology to improve safety and coordination;
  • Implement a national health data repository;
  • Include rigorous evaluation of clinical and administrative interventions, with feedback loops to continuously improve health care delivery; and
  • Support the continued use of tax benefits to expand insurance coverage.

DMAA and its members, Moorhead said, can contribute much as policymakers begin the reform process. "Our members offer valuable experience in the design and evaluation of integrated population health programs and consumer and caregiver engagement, education and support," she says. "These areas of expertise will be critical as we redesign our health care system and shift our focus to evidence-based prevention and care for the entire population."

A complete copy of the DMAA health care reform principles is available at DMAA.org.

About DMAA: The Care Continuum Alliance
DMAA: The Care Continuum Alliance convenes all stakeholders providing services along the care continuum toward the goal of population health improvement. These care continuum services include strategies, such as health and wellness promotion, disease management, and care coordination. DMAA: The Care Continuum Alliance promotes the role of population health improvement in raising the quality of care, improving health outcomes and reducing preventable health care costs for individuals with chronic conditions and those at risk of developing chronic conditions. DMAA activities in support of these efforts include advocacy, research and the promotion of best practices in care management.

DMAA: The Care Continuum Alliance represents more than 200 corporate and individual stakeholders - including wellness, disease and care management organizations, pharmaceutical manufacturers and benefits managers, health information technology innovators, biotechnology innovators, employers, physicians, nurses and other health care professionals, and researchers and academicians. Join DMAA for the year's premier education and exhibit event in employee health and wellness: the 2009 Integrated Care Summit, March 29-31, in Austin, Texas; and for The Forum 09, the 11th annual meeting of DMAA, Sept. 20-23, 2009, in San Diego.

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