FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 4, 2007
Contact: HHS Press Office
Oregon Employers and Leaders Commit to National Initiative for Improving Quality and Value in Health Care
In a meeting today with U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt, 11 leading Oregon employers committed to a national initiative aimed at improving health care quality, information and cost-effectiveness for employees and their families.
Employers and organizations making the commitment today in Portland were Intel Corporation, Portland General Electric, The Regence Group, Conway Enterprise Services, LifeWise Health Plan of Oregon, TOC Management Services, Oregon Business Council, Oregon Coalition of Health Care Purchasers, Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation, Oregon Public Employees Benefit Board (PEBB) and Oregon School Boards Association Health Trust.
In signing statements of support, these leaders pledged to provide quality and price information about doctors, hospitals and other medical providers for all enrollees in their health care insurance programs. This information will help employees choose health care providers based on the quality of care they deliver and the prices they charge.
In addition, the employers will support health information technology by encouraging the use of recognized interoperability standards in the health IT products used by their health plans. They also pledged to develop incentives for achieving better value in health care, including incentives for high quality care and for more active involvement by employees in choosing their health care services.
These four actions are the "cornerstones" of an initiative launched last November by Secretary Leavitt. By committing to these actions, the Oregon employers are joining a growing number of states and companies that are pledging to make quality and price information available to health plan enrollees in order to enable them to compare providers when they purchase health care services.
"I am proud that these companies are choosing to support these four cornerstones to achieve better health care and better value for employees and their families," Secretary Leavitt said. "Until now, it has not been possible for patients to learn in advance about the quality of care they can expect to receive from a provider, or the cost of the services they will incur. By making this information available, employers can help their employees get better care and better value in health care."
Representatives of each of the organizations joined Secretary Leavitt as they signed Statements of Support for the Four Cornerstones of Value-Driven Health Care.
For most purchases, consumers expect to compare cost and quality as they make decisions. But until now, this information has not been available in the health care sector. Patients have not been able to compare provider performance, either on dimensions of quality or on cost.
"With the commitment that leaders like these in Oregon are now making, this situation will change," Secretary Leavitt said. "Patients will come to expect quality and performance information about health care providers. They will expect to have price or cost information in advance to make good value decisions about their care. They will use this information to improve health care value for themselves and their families. And the choices they make will help improve value and health care quality across the health care sector."
President Bush committed federal health programs to these four "cornerstones" through an Executive Order last August. In November, Secretary Leavitt invited all employers, in both the private and public sectors, to take these same four steps. By committing to these goals, he said, "Our individual actions will be aligned toward reaching the common national goal of better health care at lower cost."
More information is available at www.hhs.gov/transparency.
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.
Last revised: January 20, 2009