Karen Davis: Insurance Reform Should Be Paired with Health Care Delivery Overhaul

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<p>"As the nation turns to the issue of reforming our health insurance system, it is important to address simultaneously how we organize and deliver health services--to ensure that we are obtaining the best possible health outcomes for Americans and the most value for the money we spend on health care," Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis told the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions at a hearing held yesterday afternoon.<br><br>In her <a href="/publications/testimonies/2009/jan/testimony--closing-the-quality-chasm--opportunities-and-strategies-for-moving-toward-a-high-performa
">invited testimony</a> at the hearing, "Crossing the Quality Chasm in Health Reform," Davis said that "the nation will not have the health system it wants if the federal government does not lead and implement a series of coordinated strategies to close the quality chasm," including:<ul><li>extending health insurance to all;</li><li>aligning financial incentives to reward the outcomes we want to achieve;</li><li>changing the organization and delivery of care to ensure that it is accessible, coordinated, and patient-centered;</li><li>investing in the infrastructure and support necessary to reach attainable levels of quality and efficiency; and</li><li>exercising the leadership and collaboration among all parts of the health system necessary to achieve health goals for the nation.</li></ul>Davis called attention to models of high performance in health care delivery that already exist in states and regions across the U.S., like Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania, a leading innovator that has combined an electronic health record system with quality incentives and policies to encourage care coordination. Looking abroad, she also cited the health systems of the Netherlands and Denmark--both of which emphasize accessible primary care boosted by information systems that assist physicians in coordinating health services--as international leaders from whom the U.S. could learn.<br><br>Visit <a href="/publications/testimonies/2009/jan/testimony--closing-the-quality-chasm--opportunities-and-strategies-for-moving-toward-a-high-performa
">www.commonwealthfund.org</a&gt;, to download her complete testimony and accompanying chartpack.</p>