Region's Employers Form Coalition to Promote Health System Improvement Through Benefit Redesign

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Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) and a number of leading regional employers announced today the launch of the Greater Philadelphia Business Coalition on Health (GPBCH). GPBCH, a program of PHMC aims to improve the value of health benefit spending for its members by improving healthcare quality and safety and reducing health care costs.

“GPBCH seeks to implement programs to improve employee health and productivity and to ensure that, when employees do need care, it is accessible, high-quality and safe care,” says GPBCH executive director Neil I. Goldfarb.

Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) and a number of leading regional employers announced today the launch of the Greater Philadelphia Business Coalition on Health (GPBCH). GPBCH, a program of PHMC, aims to represent the employer community in working with health plans, health care providers and other system stakeholders to improve the value of health benefit spending for its members by improving healthcare quality and safety and reducing health care costs. “GPBCH seeks to implement programs to improve employee health and productivity and to ensure that, when employees do need care, it is accessible, high-quality and safe care,” says GPBCH executive director Neil I. Goldfarb. “The value-based approach to benefit purchasing is essential to improving population health and keeping American businesses competitive in the global economy.”

Across the country, more than 50 regional business coalitions on health now engage in the value-based purchasing movement. Despite the growing body of evidence that these coalitions can be highly effective, this is the first time that Greater Philadelphia employers have organized to work collectively on improving health care quality and value in their region. GPBCH is adapting value improvement strategies already demonstrated to work in other markets while also developing and testing new and innovative strategies.

The Coalition’s initial plans include: serving as a regional rollout for the Leapfrog Group on Patient Safety, a national initiative to improve safety of hospital-based care and to make safety information available to the public; developing a consumer-friendly regional report card on provider quality and safety; redesigning health benefits to promote and reward healthy behaviors and use of evidence-based services; and working with the insurer and provider communities to develop and test strategies for improving the care delivery system and aligning provider reimbursement with care quality.

“Our goal as an employer is to have a competitive and focused workforce. One way we do this is by promoting wellness and helping our employees effectively manage personal and family health issues,” says Ed Glickman, President of Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT), a GPBCH founding member. “To accomplish this we believe that our employees would benefit from greater access to evidenced-based, quality-driven care—goals we hope to achieve through participation in GPBCH.”

GPBCH is a membership organization open to employers located in, or having a significant employed population in, the Greater Philadelphia region, including Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware and Chester Counties in Pennsylvania; Camden, Burlington and Gloucester Counties in New Jersey; and New Castle County in Delaware. Founding members include AstraZeneca, Comcast, Day and Zimmermann, PREIT, Public Health Management Corporation, StradleyRonon Stevens & Young, Vanguard and Wawa.

Todd Lombardi, Director of Compensation & Benefits for Wawa, says, “Wawa is proud to be a founding member of the GPBCH and excited to partner with other employers in this coalition to make a difference for all in this region. We believe that through this coalition we will be able to simplify the lives of our associates by driving greater transparency around cost and quality of care from the many providers in our operating area.”

In addition to regular membership, affiliated memberships are open to all individuals and organizations working with or on behalf of employers in the region in areas related to employee health benefits. Founding affiliated members include Boehringer-Ingelheim, Ethicon Endo Surgery, Healthcare Improvement Foundation, Kistler-Tiffany Benefits, Merck, Mercer, Pfizer, the Trion Group and United Healthcare. According to Dick Tewksbury of the Trion Group, “Employers are demanding long-term, sustained health care cost reductions. GPBCH is an important catalyst for improving quality and safety in the Philadelphia region health care marketplace and Trion wants to help lead in its drive for change.”

About PHMC
Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is a nonprofit public health institute that creates and sustains healthier communities. PHMC uses best practices to improve community health through direct service, partnership, innovation, policy, research, technical assistance and a prepared workforce. PHMC has served the region since 1972. For more information on PHMC, visit http://www.phmc.org.

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