On a recent walk, I listened to my new favorite health policy podcast, Tradeoffs, by journalist Dan Gorenstein. Through engaging interviews and deep dives, Gorenstein demystifies the complicated and costly world of health care. Think The Big Short, but for health care topics.
Episodes range from States’ Uphill Battle to Stop Runaway Health Care Costs, which digs into the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission, to What to Expect When Medicare and Pharma Finally Negotiate Drug Prices.
The most recent segment, Better Care at Lower Costs: The Quest for Health Care’s Holy Grail, focuses on the Camden Coalition’s early work; results of its randomized controlled trial; lessons learned; and the resulting changes made to their interventions.
Listening to that episode, I recalled the rumblings of excitement, confusion, and cynicism from people within established health industry circles about the Camden Coalition’s model. Our existing disconnected systems of payment for physical health care, mental health care, and social services made the Camden Coalition model — and other holistic approaches — extremely challenging. In the podcast episode, when discussing the results of the RCT and the Camden Coalition’s future, its CEO, Kathleen Noonan, remarks “People like stories about success, and they like stories about failure. They love extremes.…This is a story about complexity and about courage.”
Kathleen’s words connected with me.
Changing systems and structures is difficult and complex work. Unfortunately, the US health care system accounts for over 18 percent of our total GDP, but costs too much, too often results in poor outcomes, and perpetuates health inequities. Thus, we must do the hard work and dig into the complexities. At the Quality Institute, we are working on several projects, such as greater support for Comprehensive Primary Care; advancing equity and quality in Maternal Infant Health; and piloting a pediatric integrated care model called Integrated Care for Kids (InCK).
As part of these critical efforts, we often call upon you, our members, and partners, to give of your time. We ask you to join our workgroups, to be interviewed, or to share your data. We ask because multi-stakeholder input is valuable.
I believe that consensus-driven change is the only way we will improve our health care system. Thank you for all you’ve given already to support our work. Please keep saying yes, joining our workgroups, and giving of your time in this complex process.