Putting Patients at the Forefront of our Health Care System

As implementation of the Affordable Care Act moves toward full implementation, policy maker conversations are increasingly focused on the issues of cost, quality and affordability.

In late November and mid-December, I had the privilege of attending two of the most exciting conferences I have ever experienced.  I participated as a member of a team sponsored by the Michigan Health and Hospital Association’s (MHA). The conferences were sponsored by the National Partnership for Patients (NPP). Participants included high level staff from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS); hospital CEO’s, doctors, nurses AND consumers of health services.

The issues of cost, quality and affordability were addressed by emphasizing how the authentic involvement of consumers in policy and delivery at federal, state and local levels will positively affect health and the quality of health care delivery. The efforts are still in the infant stages, but the data being gathered is quite impressive. Hospitals and communities who are embarking on this journey of inclusion and transparency are demonstrating higher consumer satisfaction, less harm to consumers in the delivery system, falling costs of care and better health outcomes. The consumer stories were inspiring. There are plans to expand this work to include  nursing homes

As Michigan works to fully implement the ACA and transform the health care system, MICHUHCAN will be working to recruit consumer voices to help inform and monitor the transformation. If you are interested in being a part of this effort, please contact me. I will keep you updated on national, state and local efforts.