Health care has been suffering for a while—just ask any participant, including patients. You will hear about burnout, pressures to perform, changes in the market, pressures of new technology, fiefdoms, consumerism, and to top it off, the buildup of competition between traditional health care enterprises and new corporate health care businesses. Then there’s the pandemic, which may be sidelined publicly but continues to ravage health and the business of health care.
Value-Based Care and its sidekick, Alternative Payment Models (APMs), continue to pressure health care finances. Providers, who have played cat-and-mouse with APMs for a while now, are beginning to recognize the need to capitulate and start moving into the APM mode.
Here’s the problem: There isn’t an easy way to transition. Multiple payer contracts, Medicare and Medicaid, and health care systems and processes are built to one type of specification—volume drives revenues and growth for the whole enterprise. Facilities, practitioners and the various systems that track their performance are set up to measure their costs, but not “health care costs” as defined by the market, which actually are costs to the payer and patient. While there are many people with strong opinions, it’s rare to find people in health systems with experience in population-based payment, change agent capabilities, and data skills that are needed for APMs.