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State of Tennessee and Puget Sound Health Alliance Honored by NBCH for Value-Based Purchasing Leadership

Awards recognize efforts to improve health and health care

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The State of Tennessee was presented with the Employer Excellence in Value-Based Purchasing Award and the Puget Sound Health Alliance received the Value-Based Purchasing Membership Award today at the National Business Coalition on Health's (NBCH) annual conference. The recipients were recognized for their leadership and efforts to improve the quality and efficiency of the health care delivery system, control health care expenditures at the community level and improve the health of employees.

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The State of Tennessee received the Employer Excellence in Value-Based Purchasing Award sponsored by Ethicon Endo-Surgery and Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems. The State provides health insurance benefits for 270,000 public sector employees, retirees and their dependents. Through 2010 the State had traditionally offered three separate plans with no major benefit changes. With health care cost increases, finite resources and a growing population health risk burden, a change was required to preserve health benefits.

Tennessee's new benefits program expected to save over $1 billion
In 2011, a new plan was introduced to leverage the state's purchasing power and vendor core competencies to drive costs down; give beneficiaries greater financial stake in their health and health care purchasing decisions; build data-driven cost containment and health management practices into the plan design framework; and increase the accountability of contractors, providers and members. This innovative new model is now in place and is expected to save the State more than $1 billion over five years.

"I want to thank NBCH and Tennessee's two business coalitions for recognizing the State's efforts and in partnering with us to lead these market changes," said Mark Emkes, Commissioner of Finance and Administration for the State of Tennessee. "Change isn't easy, even if it's necessary, and anyone can do the math to design a new benefit. Our challenge was to create a benefit design that matched the unique needs of our population and to get everyone on board. The health plan changes we introduced in 2011 provide a framework that holds all stakeholders providers, members and contractors accountable for outcomes that help preserve this important benefit for public sector employees and their families."

The State of Tennessee works with two NBCH member coalitions to look for and implement additional opportunities engaging members and holding health plans accountable including participation in eValue8 and the National Diabetes Prevention Program. Gaye Fortner, President and CEO of HealthCare 21 Business Coalition and Cristie Travis, CEO of the Memphis Business Group on Health, are proud to recognize the State for a strong commitment to their workforce to provide high quality health benefits while creating an innovative approach to engage employees in their health.

"The State is honored to receive this award and to have the benefits team be recognized for their exemplary efforts in offering value based benefits to our workforce," said Rebecca Hunter, Commissioner of Human Resources for the State of Tennessee and HealthCare 21 Business Coalition Board Chair. "They have developed a model that rewards choices resulting in improved health status as members agree to take responsibility to engage in their health and health care decisions and, in return, pay lower premiums and have lower cost-sharing."

Puget Sound Health Alliance focused on improving quality and costs
NBCH presented the Puget Sound Health Alliance with its 2012 Value-Based Purchasing Membership Award. An Aligning Forces for Quality Community, the Alliance is a non-profit organization of stakeholders who provide, pay for and use health care, working to improve quality of care at a price more people can afford. More than 165 organizations are involved in the Alliance, including The Boeing Company, Starbucks, Puget Sound Energy, REI, WA State Health Care Authority and King County, as well as physician groups, hospitals, consumer organizations, unions, health plans, pharmaceutical companies, associations and others.

The Puget Sound Health Alliance is leading numerous public reporting and value-based purchasing initiatives. A key goal for the Alliance is that by 2017, regional physicians, other providers and hospitals perform in the top 10 percent nationally in the delivery of quality, evidence-based care and reduction of unwarranted variation, resulting in a significant reduction in medical cost trends.

"The Alliance is committed to working with purchasers to implement innovations that will lead to high-value, high-quality care for their employees and members," said Mary McWilliams, executive director of the Alliance. "Our foundational competency is performance measurement and reporting, which provides our members with the data that they need to make informed decisions about benefit and network designs. We're honored to receive this award from NBCH and look forward to expanding our work to further the efforts of our members to improve quality and cost in the region."

A cornerstone of the Alliance work is the Community Checkup, a regional report to the public comparing the performance of clinics and hospitals for basic measures of quality care in the Puget Sound area.

About the National Business Coalition on Health
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, NBCH is a national, non-profit, membership organization of purchaser-led business and health coalitions, representing over 7,000 employers and 25 million employees and their dependents across the United States. NBCH and its members are dedicated to value-based purchasing of health care services through the collective action of public and private purchasers. For additional information visit: www.nbch.org.

SOURCE National Business Coalition on Health

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