PRESS RELEASE: National Employer Leadership Seminar Held in Charlotte

Portland, Maine – Employers from across the nation gathered in Charlotte, North Carolina, to discuss strategies for leveraging regional data and partnerships to obtain higher quality, affordable healthcare during the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement’s (NRHI) National Employer Leadership Seminar on May 5 and 6. The event was co-hosted by the Pacific Business Group on Health, and was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as part of the NRHI | Getting to Affordability initiative. Together, NRHI’s network of regional health improvement collaboratives (RHICs) and their local stakeholders are demonstrating how multi-payer data can be used to transform healthcare by paying providers based on value rather than volume.

The Getting to Affordability initiative is focused on standardizing an approach to using the HealthPartners Total Cost of Care measure.  The goal is to produce, share, and use information to identify variation in practice patterns and highlighting cost-saving opportunities. This cost measure is unique in that it provides a fuller picture of factors influencing cost, including fee schedules, referral patterns, and place-of-service choices.  This approach:

  • allows providers to understand where they are in relation to others providing similar services
  • helps providers make better informed referrals
  • provides a reliable means to identify physicians who keep costs under control
  • provides reliable data that health plans and employers can use when constructing benefit plans
  • combined with quality information, will help patients make better informed healthcare choices

Patrick Conway, MD, Deputy Administrator of Innovation and Quality at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Chief Medical Officer participated virtually to discuss the importance of public-private payer alignment and improving health through better care and smarter spending. Noting that payment reform is necessary to redesign care, Elizabeth Mitchell, President and CEO, NRHI, underscored the importance of public-private collaboration, saying, “We know change is not easy. It not only takes multiple strategies and multiple tools but the involvement of all stakeholders. We’re stronger and more effective together.”

Throughout the 2-day seminar, pioneering RHICs from Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, and Washington State shared their experiences working with employers, providers, health plans, and consumers to promote change. Interactive discussions revealed best practices and barriers to implementing various strategies for value-based purchasing, including tiered provider networks, bundled payments, Centers of Excellence, and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). For these models to be effective, attendees emphasized a need for development and widespread use of measures to capture clinical outcomes and patient experiences, as well as simplified messaging to engage patients at the point of care.

“Healthcare still costs more than it needs to and takes away from other things we could be doing in our communities,” observed Mary Jo Condon, Senior Director of Partnerships and Projects for the Midwest Health Initiative, a RHIC serving Missouri and its bordering metropolitan areas. By connecting employers to regional healthcare partners, the seminar established a foundation for designing coordinated solutions to address the unique cost and quality concerns of local populations.

About NRHI:

The Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement is a national organization representing regional multi-stakeholder groups working towards achieving the Triple Aim of better health, better care, and reduced costs through continuous improvement. NRHI and all of its members are non-profit organizations, separate from state government, working directly with physicians, hospitals, health plans, and patients using data to improve healthcare. For more information, visit us on the web at

About RWJF:

For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve the health and health care. RWJF is working with others to build a national Culture of Health enabling everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives.  For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at


For more information contact:

Ellen Gagnon, Senior Project Director

Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement

Office: 207-805-1672


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