Opin­ion lead­ers on safety net

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Health­care lead­ers want providers to put fo­cus on pri­mary care

Even af­ter the fed­eral health­care re­form law is fully im­ple­mented in 2014, safety net providers will play a cen­tral role in pro­vid­ing med­i­cal ser­vices to vul­ner­a­ble pa­tients. To op­ti­mize the qual­ity and ef­fi­ciency of those ser­vices, safety net providers should he Com­mon­wealth Fund/

Opin­ion Lead­ers Sur­vey, con­ducted by Har­ris In­ter­ac­tive, is an on­line poll de­signed to high­light per­spec­tives on the most timely health pol­icy is­sues from a panel of the nation’s lead­ing health plan ex­ec­u­tives, pol­i­cy­mak­ers and health­care pur­chasers. It is con­ducted four times an­nu­ally. This is the 26th in­stall­ment in the se­ries. On pp. 24 and 25, per­spec­tive on the lat­est topic—vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions—is pro­vided by Dr. Pa­tri­cia Gabow, ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Den­ver Health, and Dr. David Sund­wall, pro­fes­sor of pub­lic health at the depart­ment of fam­ily and preven­tive medicine, Univer­sity of Utah School of Medicine. For more re­sults, go to the Com­mon­wealth Fund’s web­site, com­mon­wealth­fund.org.



GETTY IM­AGES pres­i­dent of the Com­mon­wealth Fund.

Har­ris In­ter­ac­tive con­ducted the sur­vey, which fo­cused on vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions, be­tween June 14 and July 20.

A to­tal of 186 opin­ion lead­ers from health­care de­liv­ery, pol­icy and fi­nance par­tic­i­pated in the sur­vey, which was the 26th in a se­ries de­signed to gather opin­ions from health­care lead­ers on timely pol­icy is­sues. The re­sponse rate was 14.3%. Here is the break­down of par­tic­i­pants: 58% in aca­demic or re­search in­sti­tu­tions; 22% in health­care de­liv­ery; 25% in in­surance, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal or other health­care busi­nesses; and 9% in gov­ern­ment, la­bor or con­sumer ad­vo­cacy or­ga­ni­za­tions. (The to­tal is more than 100% be­cause sur­vey re­spon­dents were al­lowed to put them­selves in more than one cat­e­gory.)

Tra­di­tional safety net providers— such as pub­lic hos­pi­tals and fed­er­ally qual­i­fied health cen­ters—are “a crit­i­cal health­care re­source for those who are low in­come, vul­ner­a­ble in­di­vid­u­als,” said Steve O’Dell, se­nior vice pres­i­dent at Molina Health­care, Long Beach, Calif., which op­er­ates man­aged-care health plans for Med­i­caid as well as pri­mary-care clin­ics in three states.

Most opin­ion lead­ers who re­sponded to the sur­vey said they think safety net providers should adopt de­liv­ery and pay­ment mod­els de­signed to im­prove the qual­ity and ef­fi­ciency

Safety net providers alone may not be able to meet the de­mand for ser­vices from all of the newly in­sured, vul­ner­a­ble pa­tients, so fi­nan­cial in­cen­tives should be struc­tured to en­cour­age more providers to serve them, sur­vey re­spon­dents say.

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