Better Health + Reduced Costs = Healthier, More Productive Connecticut

The weekend of June 8-9, 2024 the  following opinion piece on Value Based Care (VBC) appeared in nine daily and 13 weekly newspapers, all of which are run by Hearst Media Connecticut. 

Better Health + Reduced Costs = Healthier, More Productive Connecticut
By: George Beauregard, DO and James Uberti, MD

Imagine a health care world focused on preventative care: a health system that embraces the whole patient, including his/her challenges and needs; a health system where patients visit their doctor not only when something is wrong; a health system where medical visits are not one-off transactions, but a series of encounters that build and strengthen the physician-patient relationship; a health system in which physicians have more time to listen and talk to, collaborate with and treat the patients entrusted to their care.

Welcome to value-based healthcare (VBC). The good news is we don’t have to imagine it, because it already exists in Connecticut, with an increasing role in health care delivery. This is a positive development as VBC care will ultimately replace the current health care delivery system that has grown fragmented and inconsistent, with unacceptable variability in terms of access, use of procedures, outcomes and costs.

We are two of hundreds of physicians in Connecticut who have embraced VBC and witnessed its positive results. We are hopeful it will soon become the norm. The old way of health care — which is akin to bringing a car to the mechanic, not for preventative maintenance, but for repairs only when it’s malfunctioning or there’s an emergency — will become a relic of the past.

America’s traditional health care system has become a financial burden for everyone — governments, employers, providers and patients. Hospitalizations, emergency room visits, costly testing, high-priced drugs and more have forced the price of medical care to rise prohibitively over decades. Moreover, medical providers have been compensated primarily for quantity of care rather than quality of care. Yet increased spending has not led to better health, as studies show United States health outcomes rank well-below those of other developed countries. A VBC system rewards access, is equitable, is judicious and evidence-based, and stabilizes expenditures, all of which will bend downward the health care cost curve.

A VBC model is more patient-centric, with greater collaboration amongst all the providers involved in a patient’s care. Patients receive the right care, in the right setting and at the right time. A patient is managed holistically across the continuum of care, rather than episodically.

In a VBC delivery system, provider compensation is no longer based solely on number of patients seen. Instead, there is greater focus on quality of care, including positive clinical outcomes and cost efficiencies.

VBC is more preventative and proactive in treating patients and populations. The experiences of the patient and the provider are enhanced, as relationships and collaboration are strengthened. Our healthcare systems will finally achieve the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Triple Aim: improving the individual’s experience of care and improving the health of populations, while reducing the per-capita cost of health care.

For employers responsible for their workers’ health, VBC is a significant improvement. With a focus on prevention, access, outcomes and cost efficiency, the health of employees is enhanced while absenteeism and medical expenses are reduced. At last, employer health care budgets can be stabilized.

When health care quality rises and costs drop, the result will be a healthier, more productive Connecticut. It is a win for everyone.