The rubber hits the road on cost containment

In 2014 Vermont launched an effort to bring health care providers together to better coordinate care for patients, reduce unnecessary tests, improve health outcomes, and save money in a health care system that is spending it faster than Vermonters can afford. And guess what? It’s working. Earlier this week we received the year-one results showing that the effort helped avoid $14.6 million in health care costs last year alone.

The truth of the matter is that the rise in health care costs is the single largest drag on affordability in Vermont. Any Vermonter who pays a monthly health insurance bill knows this. Every year, without fail, premiums go up. That’s simply not sustainable, and it’s why I’m so excited by the early success of this effort.

In many ways, what we set out to do this last year is the rubber hitting the road on health care cost containment in Vermont. Vermonters have heard me talk about changing our health care system from one that rewards quantity to one that rewards quality. That means changing the way we pay hospitals and doctors. Currently, medical providers are reimbursed for the number of things they do–tests they run, procedures they perform–not necessarily for making patients healthier. Doctors in Vermont are doing their best to care for their patients, but the nonsensical incentives lead to excessive tests and unnecessary procedures, which drive up health care costs for every Vermonter.

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