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IBJ: Let’s work together to improve Hoosier health care

Jun 7, 2024

By: Luke Messer

Earlier this month, the RAND Corp. published its annual report examining commercial hospital prices as a percentage of Medicare reimbursements across the 50 states. The report, which uses as its baseline a payment program that does not fully cover the costs of providing care to its beneficiaries, ranks Indiana eighth-highest for commercial hospital prices in the nation. At the same time, Indiana’s payments to its physicians ranked among the lowest in the country.

The RAND study is one of many reports and analyses issued by a growing number of organizations that attempt to provide relative rankings of health care costs and prices across the country. Earlier this spring, Forbes released a study ranking Indiana in the middle of the pack—24th out of the 50 states—in cost of health care.

No matter our ranking, one fact is clear: The cost of health care is increasing for all Americans, and Hoosiers are no exception. The real question is what to do about it. Can employers, insurance companies, health care providers and the other parts of the vast health care ecosystem come together to develop practical, sensible reform policies that have the potential to slow the growth of health care costs without making access to care even more difficult than it already is in parts of our state? Are we stuck with an unfixable tangled web for our health care services?

We believe Indiana can and must do better. The Indiana Business Health Collaborative is a unique new partnership among Hoosier employers, all parts of the health care industry and other stakeholders interested in working together to strengthen the state of health care in Indiana through market-based, patient-centered solutions.

With members in communities from South Bend to New Albany and growing, the IBHC’s membership consists of some of Indiana’s largest and most notable employers, academic institutions, health care systems and economic development groups. Working together, with everyone “at the table” and understanding the need for change, we believe we can help develop real solutions to the real health care costs and access problems we face as a state.

Because accurate, credible data is essential for sound policymaking, the IBHC will support the responsible and unbiased collection and analysis of data in developing recommendations related to Indiana’s health care costs, service utilization and health outcomes. We have partnered with leading researchers at Indiana University to commission impartial reporting that will inform and guide our efforts and place Indiana’s health care overall costs in perspective, especially when compared to those of neighboring states.

The IBHC will also serve as an open and collaborative forum where ideas and best practices are shared, piloted and, ultimately, scaled to reduce the cost of care and improve the health of Hoosiers.

Improving health outcomes and access to care for Hoosiers in both urban and rural communities is a crucial goal for this forum. The IBHC will maintain its commitment to craft and advance proposals that successfully address many common health care challenges affecting Hoosier families.

The IBHC will look for ways to promote price and quality transparency at all levels of the health care system and to encourage true competition to drive market-based solutions as opposed to unworkable and counterproductive government price setting.

Last, it is no secret that Indiana faces shortages in virtually every health profession. The coalition will advocate for expanding Indiana’s health care workforce and engage the expertise of its members to develop proposals to expand the short- and long-term talent pipeline of health care professionals in Indiana.

There are no silver-bullet solutions. Successfully addressing health care affordability will require intentional collaboration among all stakeholders in the state’s health care system. The IBHC is working to bring together these essential, informed and diverse perspectives in one group to improve the lives of all Hoosiers.

Source: Indianapolis Business Journal

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