Project Aimed at Reducing Total Healthcare Cost Gets Boost

Washington, DC – The Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI) announced it has again received support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to continue a program designed to leverage healthcare cost data to reduce healthcare costs and improve care. The grant renewal for the Total Cost of Care project (TCoC) will last 18 months beginning today.

“RWJF’s mission is to build a Culture of Health. We want to get to a place where everyone in this country has an equal opportunity to achieve the healthiest life possible, regardless of where they live, learn, work and play,” said Tara Oakman, Senior Program Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “We need to better understand what we are spending on healthcare so we can start to have those conversations with all stakeholders – payers, providers, consumers, community leaders – about how we are spending our resources to ultimately get to better population health,” said Oakman.

Through NRHI, the Total Cost of Care project brought together five regional health improvement collaboratives – which are NRHI members – to build a framework upon which communities can learn about cost transparency efforts, assist providers seeking to be accountable for cost, and enable payment reform by sharing best practices. The 18-month pilot was designed to standardize measurement to enable meaningful cost comparisons – and ultimately cost reductions – across healthcare regions and in physician practices.

The five Regional Health Improvement Collaboratives are: Center for Improving Value in Health Care (Colorado); Maine Health Management Coalition; Midwest Health Initiative (St Louis, MO); Minnesota Community Measurement; and Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation.

“We still don’t have the basic information needed to understand or address healthcare spending,” says Elizabeth Mitchell, President and CEO of NRHI. “In order to ascertain the effectiveness of the current healthcare system, we need more transparent information around costs and their drivers. Once we know that, people, providers and purchasers can begin to make truly informed decisions that enable better care and lower cost. We are thrilled to have the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation share our vision and partner with us in such a generous and supportive way.”

The continued support from RWJF will allow NRHI and its five Regional Health Improvement Collaboratives to continue to develop and execute their project findings and expand efforts to three new regions. NRHI will support the original five RHICs to produce ongoing reporting and trend analysis, trends, explore reporting on Medicare and Medicaid populations, engage in focused efforts with employers, and continue to collaborate with providers on how to use the cost information within their practices. Having meaningful comparative data will enable physicians, healthcare providers and employers to use the information they need to play a key role in cost reduction, practice transformation and payment reform.

The grant funding continuation was announced during a day-long conference in Washington, DC yesterday. Here, health improvement leaders, policy makers, physicians, health plans and others from across the country gathered to learn about the TCoC project findings as well as share best practices on how we pay for healthcare and manage overall cost of care.

For more information on the Total Cost of Care project, go to our website.

Media Contact: Abby Greenfield, or (207) 653-3939.