The 'Edge Report Blog

Insights with Andy Slavitt

Health EdgeAugust 08, 2017

In a recent interview with HealthEdge, Andy Slavitt, former Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in the Obama administration, shared unique insights about the healthcare industry. Since leaving Washington, DC earlier this year, Slavitt has been doing regular public speaking engagements, and has become a  senior adviser to the Bipartisan Policy Center, where he works with former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle and Dr. Bill Frist on healthcare issues.

When we sat down with Mr. Slavitt, he provided perspective on a range of issues, all of which are relevant in today’s healthcare landscape.

The Move To Value-Based Reimbursement 

Andy Slavitt talks to HealthEdge CEO Steve Krupa

VBR represents a new way to pay for health services, and promotes better outcomes.  The challenge is that with a very diverse healthcare system, there needs to be equally diverse methods for stakeholders to get engaged.  MACRA does serve as such a catalyst, even with the modifications it has recently undergone. This movement will take time.  Slavitt contends that you can push people to go 10 percent faster than they are comfortable with, but any more than that can result in failed initiatives.  Ultimately VBR will be a transformational change that will forever modify how care is delivered, and it is destined to occur across all healthcare segments.

For more insights, view part one of three of Steve Krupa's conversation with Andy Slavitt.

The Special Role of Payers
Payers have a unique role in this time of uncertainty.  They have the capability to help patients achieve better health outcomes, while building loyalty for the future.  Payers touch and collect valuable information from all types of providers; PCP’s, specialists, hospitals, as well as pharma, labs and other ancillaries.  Payers must choose whether they want to impact the patient experience, by being patient centered and community centered.  Patients as consumers can get the information they need in their personal lives – now it is up to payers to allow people the opportunity to ask critical  health questions, which allows the creation of a relationship centered on trust that has not traditionally been emphasized.  Payers are also in position to encourage providers to choose the most comfortable settings for patients for recovery.  An example are bundled payments, which make physicians more likely to send patients home for recovery, where they statistically fare better.  Finally, health plans must utilize the information they accumulate for the benefit of patients.  Extend the information collection to include such factors as Social Determinants of Health, and take into account the holistic ecosystem of services and support networks that assist each patient to improve outcomes.

How Technology Contributes
Community, individual and business priorities must take precedence in today’s healthcare system.  Technology can help show the way for health plans to navigate changing dynamics and customer requirements.  Technology must be customer centric, not feature centric.  In this way technology can be a decisive factor to handle change.

Payer Success
The best health plans are adaptable.  It is critical to know your customers to the nth degree, and provide services and capabilities that meet those specific needs.  Simpler is better, and take the time to pause and evaluate programs and services.  Align your vision with partners and vendors that share that vision.