Impact of Price & Usage on Healthcare Costs Continue to Be Drivers in Both Directions

Six regions participate in review of spending patterns against baseline benchmark in new report

November 8, 2018 Portland, ME — Variation of the total cost of healthcare in six states continues to be driven by local patterns of healthcare usage and pricing. Multiple years of consistent results confirm stability of the measure in a report released today by the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI), a national non-profit representing regional health improvement collaboratives (RHICs) and state partners working to achieve better health, and high-quality, affordable care.

“Data is the Spark, Collaboration is the Fuel” is NRHI’s third report comparing the total cost of care for those with private insurance in various U.S. regions. The report uses the average cost of healthcare for comparable populations as its benchmark and compares each state to that average. Like other recent studies highlighted in national media, “Data is the Spark, Collaboration is the Fuel” finds that healthcare costs vary widely between states. The NRHI report dives deeper to explore why costs differ and reveals how varied care delivery patterns and local prices contribute to the cost differences between Colorado, Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon, St. Louis, and Utah.

“There are ways we can work together to change the system, this report provides trusted data and supports RHICs collaborative multi-stakeholder forums that leverage healthy tension, and local intelligence to address healthcare affordability.” said Ellen Gagnon, Executive Director of Healthcare Affordability, NRHI.

With three national total cost of care benchmark reports complete, trends are emerging, and statistics show that each state has a different story to tell. Releasing this information gives stakeholders insight into the role that local policies, demographic makeup, and market factors play in driving healthcare costs. NRHI and its members believe that this knowledge enables them to take steps to address specific issues on a regional level and further bolsters their belief that data is important, but it’s not sufficient alone – multi-stakeholder collaboration is going to be the lever that drives price and service utilization change.

“The data shuts down anecdotal conversations and opens peoples’ eyes,” said Jonathan Mathieu, VP of Data and Delivery, Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC), the RHIC serving the state of Colorado.

For example, data is driving change in Oregon, where HealthInsight, one of the first RHICs to participate in the project, has been sharing information with providers, payers, and policymakers for several years. Legislators have created workgroups dedicated to addressing cost-related components of delivery and have asked HealthInsight to provide total cost of care data regularly.

“We’re often called upon as having local expertise and a true and tried methodology,” said Meredith Roberts Tomasi, Associate Executive Director, HealthInsight. “Legislators see it as an important source of information as they consider how to create a higher-value healthcare system for our state.”

The foundation built by benchmarking regions has sparked curiosity and promoted spread of cost transparency across regions. Over the past five years NRHI has grown this project to collaborate with a total of 18 regions on its Total Cost of Care initiative. The national comparison detailed in this report is supported by practice-level reporting in regions used by providers for improvement. Their reports also deliver this critical information to payers, patients, and purchasers. With the publication of this report, NRHI now has three sets of regional cost comparisons. Learn more about NRHI’s project by visiting our website.

“Data is the Spark, Collaboration is the Fuel” was developed with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The report can be found at: . NRHI will be hosting a Tech Talk on this report later today, November 8, 2018 at 3pm ET. To register, click the following link:


About NRHI

The Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI) is a national membership organization of regional health improvement collaboratives (RHICs) and partners representing more than 30 states and territories across the US. Our members work in and across their regions to collaborate and transform healthcare with the goal of achieving better health, and high-quality affordable care.

About Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 45 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working alongside others to build a national Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at


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