Washington Health Alliance joins Total Cost of Care project

Washington Health Alliance (WHA) has been selected to participate in Total Cost of Care, a project by The Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI) funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The project is in its second phase and was able to include more organizations through additional grant funds.

The Total Cost of Care project aims to develop a standard model to implement cost of care reports. It targets apples-to-apples comparisons from one physician to another and across states, with the overall goal of informing strategies to reduce the rising cost of health care.

Goals: Total Cost of Care in Phase 1 (November 1, 2013-April 30, 2014)

  1. Measure and publicly report the total cost of care (TCOC) and resource use in a standardized way across five regions;
  2. Create a process for bench-marking multi-payer commercial healthcare costs;
  3. Identify the best ways to share cost information with key stakeholders in local communities to identify drivers and reduce healthcare costs;
  4. Conduct focused work with physicians to help them use cost information to adopt practices that will reduce costs and improve care, and to encourage them to serve as leaders in their communities

Health Management Associates (HMA), a health policy research firm, evaluated phase 1 and noted, “A key accomplishment of Phase I was the beginning of serious conversations among stakeholders about the potential benefits of cost transparency.”

Goals: Total Cost of Care in Phase 2 (May 1, 2015-October 31, 2016):

  1. Use longitudinal data to evaluate trends;
  2. Examine the impact of risk adjusters, and continue working toward standardization;
  3. Introduce new regions;
  4. Develop guidelines for All Payer Claims Databases (APCDs) interested in reporting total cost of care

WHA was one of five organizations chosen to join the second phase of the project. In a written statement, Nancy A. Giunto, Executive Director of the Alliance expressed enthusiasm for the project.

“We are very pleased to be able to join this important effort to promote price transparency in health care…This project dovetails perfectly with our work to address the barriers to price transparency in Washington and prepare for the arrival of the All Payers Claims Database. We are grateful to NHRI and RWJF for the opportunity to be part of this national effort.”