Executive Office Update: Colorado cost commission begins work on lofty goals

Monday, September 01, 2014 12:07 PM
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Alfred Gilchrist

Alfred Gilchrist, Chief Executive Officer
Colorado Medical Society

Although its first meeting was organizational, the Colorado Commission on Affordable Health Care conveyed a strong sense of commitment and purpose by the mere presence of some of the state’s most thoughtful and experienced health care policy leaders.

Created this spring by the Colorado General Assembly with a three-year life span, the commission includes members who are movers and shakers, veterans of Colorado’s lengthy record of successful collaborations in health care delivery innovations and reforms.

Commission Interim Chairman Bill Lindsay also led the highly regarded 208 Commission, which produced a comprehensive, prescient set of health care system reform recommendations that predated the federal Affordable Care Act. More than a few of the commission members are practically household names, having collaborated with CMS over the years and been recognized and honored by our physician leaders for their work on a wide range of initiatives.

The commission members bring their collective wisdom, drawn from long experience in the trenches of care delivery, financing and policy to produce recommendations that by design are intended to rinse the politics and urban myths out of the health care cost debate while building a consensus that reflects exam room-level realities. We are confident that the end products will be evidence-based – built from policies and methods that have a track record in other settings and states.

At a time where partisan bickering and zero-sum politics have dominated national headlines, the commission will be a room full of serious, really intelligent experts working through some of the most complicated policy questions.

Given what is at stake, we don’t expect it will always be pretty. Cost outliers that cannot demonstrate their value will have no place to hide given the increasing online publication of cost and quality data. The commission will undoubtedly provoke spirited debates. Colorado has a well-earned reputation in the health care arena for fixing problems, not placing blame.

We strongly supported senators Aguilar and Roberts’ development and enactment of the commission, and are pulling together our own internal work group to not only respond to the commission’s ideas, but to bring our own thoughts and recommendations to them.

Our CMS boardroom discussions have centered on medicine’s duty to not only our patients, but also to society to be prudent stewards of health care expenditures. This will be tough work, and we are eager to step up.

Posted in: Colorado Medicine | Health System Reform


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