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Ronald C. Whiting: A health care wish list for the community

During this time it is common for nonprofit organizations to share their "wish lists." The Wichita Business Coalition on Health Care is a nonprofit organization with its own wish list for the community.

The coalition is a multi-stakeholder membership organization formed in 2008. With more than 40 members representing more than 60,000 lives, the coalition provides a forum to increase collaboration between employers, physicians, health plans and others to highlight opportunities to improve quality and reduce health care costs in our community.

Being multi-stakeholder explicitly recognizes that all of the stakeholders share responsibility for moving us forward to better health, better care, at a lower cost. With these shared goals in mind, here is a wish list for the health care community:

For employers

* Buy health care using the principles of value-based purchasing, which include using explicit quality and efficiency measures, and encouraging employees to seek high-value services that are proved to help improve and maintain health.

* Provide information to employees about the cost and quality of the care they receive.

* Become more engaged in the community with regard to health and health care, including active senior leadership support for the importance of good health and quality care.

For hospitals

* Report hospital quality performance data to the public on your own websites.

* Compete for business from purchasers and health plans based on quality as much as volume and price.

* Develop and implement new models of care that improve coordination between providers, address transitions in care, are patient-focused, and reward quality and efficiency.

For physicians

* Exercise leadership in developing and reporting quality measures for clinical care.

* Use electronic health records and share data between providers at the point of care.

* Develop and implement new models of care that improve coordination between providers, address transitions in care, are patient-focused, and reward quality and efficiency.

For insurance plans

* Participate in health plan evaluation and benchmarking regarding health plan performance, and make the results publicly available.

* Share data with small employers, as well as large, to help them better understand and manage their health care costs.

* Support provider-led efforts to implement new models of care that reward quality and efficiency.

For everyone

* Eat healthy foods and exercise regularly.

* Take responsibility for your own health, including the consequences of poor behaviors that result in preventable diseases.

* Get engaged in your own health care, including finding out how much your health care costs and learning about the quality of care that is provided by your doctors and hospitals.

Our final wish is that everyone in our community will share a vision for Wichita in which citizens are healthy, health care is continuously improving, and health care costs are low.

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