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Managed Care Partners - The health care reform future is now

Managed Care Partners Fall 2010

The health care reform future is now

Date: October 31, 2010

Patricia Brown
Patricia Brown, President, Johns Hopkins HealthCare

Regardless of the details that will eventually emerge from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, one overarching trend is clear: Every health care delivery system must take cost reduction seriously and at the same time improve access to care and the outcomes of that care.

At Johns Hopkins Medicine, our response to that challenge has been to “lean into” our three-pronged mission of patient care, teaching and research—a mission that’s defined us from our inception.

For example, last year we created The Access Partnership (see story, page 1) to help our uninsured and underinsured neighbors get much-needed specialty care. Besides being a way to simply do the right thing, the program will allow us to generate data and determine whether this model can reduce health care expenditures by giving patients an alternative to very-high-cost Emergency Department care and averting hospital admissions.

Our penchant for turning to research and education to advance care can also be seen in the work of Bruce Leff (see story titled Why geriatric care doesn't have to mean hospital care). As one of the leaders of a nationally focused effort to re-think how care is provided to what will soon become a flood of geriatric patients, Leff and his colleagues aim to generate evidence-based strategies that could reduce costs and increase care quality.

That theme has been especially important for Priority Partners, our Medicaid managed care organization (see story titled Riding the (Medicaid) wave). To handle the influx of many more new members along with rate cuts by the state, we are redoubling our focus on the population health framework of patient-centered, integrated care delivery organized around population and disease.

Most importantly, leaders across Johns Hopkins Medicine have been regularly coming together for more than a year and looking closely at the implications of health care reform from a global perspective (see story titled What's best for the 'best of the best'?). 

What’s clear is that we already have in place the components to deliver the right care at the right time. Now, keeping our mission always front and center, we’re transforming ourselves from an academic medical center to a true academic medical system.