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Welcome to <i>Purchasing High Performance</i>

A publication designed for employers and coalitions seeking value in health care.

Any conversation about health care this month might start with “How is health care reform likely to affect…?” We are, at least potentially, on the verge of a system-wide overhaul. But no matter what happens on Capitol Hill, there will still be a place, post-reform, for conscientious employers to use their savvy and sway to increase value in the health care system. Purchasing High Performance is designed with that goal in mind. Every issue will bring you innovative purchasing strategies, benefit design ideas, and news you can use to make the most of your health care dollars.

Purchasing High Performance is a collaboration. The newsletter is produced by the National Business Coalition on Health (NBCH) and The Commonwealth Fund. NBCH is a coalition of coalitions—a group that’s dedicated to advancing value-based purchasing and advocating for changes that will speed the nation's progress toward a safe, efficient, high-quality health care system. The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation that supports research and makes grants toward the same goal: moving the nation toward a high performance health care system. Local business coalitions are helping make sure this online publication gets into the hands of the employers for whom it was created.

The organizations behind Purchasing High Performance are certain of one thing: what happens on Capitol Hill will not, by itself, define the health care system of the future. You will play a leading role. Employers, working in concert with consumers, physicians, health plans, and others at the local level, will determine how the policy framework of the future plays out in communities across the country. But it’s important to understand what that framework might look like, so each issue includes a Perspectives on Policy piece designed to cut through the dizzying array of proposals and rhetoric to give you an idea of what lawmakers are considering and, better still, to show you how to get involved in the health care reform debate.

Each issue of Purchasing High Performance will also feature at least one best practice case study from an employer on the front lines of care. This issue includes two: the first explores an initiative at General Electric that tested whether incentives are an effective tool for encouraging smokers to quit. The second looks at how one coalition built a clinic and hospital report card that enjoys near universal support in the community. Use these case studies as models for your own efforts, or as inspiration for other initiatives. Also included are articles on such diverse topics as comparative effectiveness research, the value of health IT, value-based benefit design, and why the problem of the uninsured matters to you.

We hope that you will find this newsletter to be a useful resource as you work to make the most of your health care dollars and improve the health and productivity of your workforce.

To tell us how we can improve this newsletter, please take a short survey. And if you know someone who would like to subscribe to this newsletter, please forward it to them.


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Karen Davis
The Commonwealth Fund
Andrew Webber
President and CEO
National Business Coalition on Health


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