The Alliance: Driving High-Value Healthcare for Employers and Their Employees
By Cheryl DeMars, CEO & President
It’s no secret that we are facing some complex challenges in healthcare today. Over 70% of employers expect moderate to significant cost increases over the next three years. Around 100 million in the U.S. are struggling with medical debt causing 62% of bankruptcy filings each year. And there is a projected shortage of 17,800 – 48,000 primary care physicians by 2034. To put it simply, healthcare is becoming more expensive and more difficult to access. That’s why at The Alliance, we’re working to move healthcare forward and improve the value of healthcare for employers and their employees.
High-Value Healthcare Providers
Contracting with providers who deliver high-quality care at low costs no matter where they fit into the healthcare ecosystem is important. We contract with independent and alternative providers and providers in larger health systems to create a broad provider network. To us, the type of provider doesn’t matter as much as the quality and cost of their services. It is important for employers to have a robust network in their benefit plan design. The network must have accessible providers who can work together to offer an inclusive range of services. This allows patients to seek care where they are most comfortable and where they can get timely, quality care at a reasonable cost. A good network should include:
- Independent providers have the flexibility to schedule their own appointments, which allows them to spend quality time with each of their patients.
- Telehealth services, including virtual primary care and behavioral health services, can offer patients increased access to care with flexible appointment hours and, in some cases, 24/7 patient support and care navigation. Virtual health companies offer innovative, cost-effective solutions for patients.
- Providers who work in a health system can leverage their large-scale resources to provide specialized care for patients. The Alliance’s Smarter NetworksSM include multiple major health systems in Wisconsin.
An effective network with high-value providers only goes so far if employees do not utilize these providers. So, it is important for employers to educate their employees on the benefits of seeking care where quality is good, and the cost is low. This not only helps keep costs down for the employee, making it easier financially to access care, it also keeps costs down for their self-funded employer meaning they can invest dollars that would have been spent on healthcare back into their employees and business.
Working Together Toward High-Value Healthcare
By working together, we can achieve the best results for all stakeholders in the healthcare industry. When employees utilize high-value healthcare, they can receive customized, affordable care and experience improved health outcomes. And their self-funded employers can lower their healthcare spend and reinvest their savings in their employees by providing improved benefits.
Reach out to us to learn how The Alliance can help you manage your healthcare spend while improving value for employees.
Cheryl DeMars joined The Alliance in 1992, assuming several roles before becoming CEO in December 2006. Cheryl works with the Board of Directors and senior leadership team to establish the strategic direction of the cooperative.