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2014-02-28

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

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February 28, 2014 - 1:16am

University professor to address insurance reform with legislators

BY IAN DILLINGHAM

As health care expenses in the United States reach almost $3.8 trillion per year, some researchers have decided it’s time to look at quality over quantity when it comes to providing care.

A. Mark Fendrick, University professor of health management and policy, will be in Washington, D.C. on Friday to address members of Congress on ways to reduce national health care costs through Value-Based Insurance Design, a policy initiative currently being explored by faculty at the School of Public Health. Along with Reps. John Dingell (D–Mich.) and Diane Black (R–Tenn.), Fendrick will deliver his findings in a briefing at the Capitol Visitors Center.

Established in 2005, The University’s Center for V-BID explores mechanisms to improve health care payment and delivery methods. The Center seeks to reform traditional payment methods by acknowledging that certain medical procedures are more valuable than others and that this distinction often depends heavily on the patient’s medical history.

V-BID would ensure that individuals at higher risk of certain conditions are incentivized to receive necessary medical treatment. For example, a patient with a history of heart disease who recently received surgery would receive greater compensation for a consultation from a cardiac specialist than a younger individual with no history of heart disease.

In a Thursday press release, the Center wrote that the event “offers an opportunity to discuss an innovative solution to address one of the nation’s most valuable programs.”

While the V-BID concept could lower health care costs for individuals with chronic conditions by promoting preventative treatment, it may also raise costs for treatments that an employer considers overused or unnecessary. This cost-saving measure has garnered some support among large employers. In 2010, The Washington Post reported that 80 percent of large employers — those with 10,000 employees or more — were interested in adopting a V-BID model.

A recent study released by CVS Caremark found that V-BID models, which were outlined in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010, yielded positive health benefits by increasing “medication adherence,” especially for high-risk patients and in cases where medication was provided via mail.