To say the future of health care policy at the federal level is uncertain would be a monstrous understatement. While we don’t know what will happen in Washington, we know what needs to happen in North Carolina in order to bring value driven health care to the state. In the July/August edition of the North Carolina Medical Journal, I discuss North Carolina’s path to achieve greater value and how business is stepping up to the plate to get it done.
As I outlined in “Roadmap to Value Driven Health,” business must take the lead in driving solutions when it comes to monumental issues requiring transformational change. It is for that reason, the NC Chamber is prioritizing health care as a top issue affecting job creation in our state and is focused on making North Carolina a top-ten state for health care value. At the onset of this process, two things were clear: business had sat on the sidelines for too long, forfeiting its responsibility to demand high-quality care with predictable costs, and the dialogue needed to change to reestablish the true payer of health care, the tax payer. With that insight, the NC Chamber Foundation commissioned a study that not only quantified health care quality and cost in North Carolina, but also developed a roadmap to value-driven health care to turn health care quality and cost into a competitive advantage for companies looking to locate and grow in our state. The roadmap outlines the six key elements of a strategic path to better health care value in North Carolina, of which stakeholders in this process agreed were integral to this initiative. Those elements include an employer-driven but collaborative approach, the NC Chamber acting as the “natural owner” of this process, using strategic supply chain management as the framework, using the “Bridge” model for improving health and health care value, learning from and leveraging the solutions and experiences of others and including early research and a collaborative focus on employee/consumer/patient engagement and activation.
North Carolina’s health outcomes are below average and that our state slipped from 31st to 32nd in the nation’s health care rankings according to the 2016 United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings, only reinforcing the need to act now. As I wrote in my piece, addressing the challenge of costs and value in our health care system is daunting. Our country spends more than $2.5 trillion and counting annually on health care – a price tag too high for us to buy our way out. Solving the challenges impeding North Carolina’s health care value won’t be easy and will require the commitment of our community to lead this collaborative effort with our allies on the health care supply chain but we know where we need to go.
Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber