Firm News and Events
Thursday, February 15, 2007
WS+B Among New Jersey Businesses Committed to Quality and Value in Healthcare
On February 15, 2007, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, Mike Leavitt, met with New Jersey business executives to sign a statement of support for a national initiative aimed at improving health care quality, information and cost-effectiveness for employees and their families. The gathering was held at AT&T World Headquarters, Bedminster, NJ.
WithumSmith+Brown was among the 19 employers present who supported this initiative, with Jay Sexton, CPA, signing on behalf of the firm. Some of the other employers signing on included American Standard, AT&T, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Commerce Bank, Gateway Chamber of Commerce, Honeywell, Healthcare Services (BCBS of NJ), New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, Schering-Plough and Wegmans.
In signing statements of support, the executives pledged to provide quality and price information about doctors, hospitals and other medical providers for all enrollees in their health care insurance programs. This information will help employees choose health care providers based on the quality of care they deliver and the prices they charge.
In addition, the employers will support health information technology by encouraging the use of recognized interoperability standards in the health IT products used by their health plans. They also pledged to develop incentives for achieving better value in health care, including incentives for high quality care and for more active involvement by employees in choosing their health care services.
President Bush committed federal health programs to the four cornerstones through an Executive Order last August. In November, Secretary Leavitt invited all employers, in both the private and public sectors, to take these same four steps. By committing to these goals, he said, “Our individual actions will be aligned toward reaching the common national goal of better health at lower costs for all Americans. Today, more than a dozen purchasers here in New Jersey are joining with the federal government in adopting the four cornerstones of value-driven health care. All together, they cover more than 1.8 million lives.”
For most purchases, consumers expect to compare cost and quality as they make decisions. But until now, this information has not been available in the health care sector. Patients have not been able to compare provider performance, either on dimensions of quality or on cost.
“With the commitment that employers like these are now making, this situation will change,” Secretary Leavitt said. “Patients will come to expect quality and performance information about health care providers. They will expect to have price or cost information in advance to make good value decisions about their care. They will use this information to improve health care value for themselves and their families. And the choices they make will help improve value and health care quality across the health care sector.”
For a full list of companies nationally who have signed statements of support, click here. Back to Firm News and Events