Opinion leaders on safety net
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.