Our new fiscal year begins on June 1, so we’ve spent the last several months working on our strategic plan and budget. One of the resources we relied upon was the results from Project 360, our comprehensive member satisfaction and market research survey. All told, 250 Alliance members and other business partners participated in this study, which helps us set priorities, assess our progress and identify opportunities for improvement. A few headlines follow.

A Time of Uncertainty

Not surprisingly, health care reform is creating uncertainty for employers, and they are looking for trusted sources of information. They also want to influence how health care evolves. Most member respondents, 74 percent, plan to continue to offer health benefits as they do today, based on their current understanding of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

However, employers will monitor how PPACA implementation unfolds and will continually evaluate the cost-benefit trade-offs of offering health benefits. For most, this analysis will involve more than just a simple calculation of the cost of health benefits versus the cost of the penalty.

The Alliance’s Performance

When we first conducted the survey in 2007, we learned that many of our members and other business partners perceived us as a network, or a claims repricer. While we take pride in our network and claims repricing ability, these roles are not synonymous with The Alliance. We set out to broaden our service offerings, redefine our mission and clarify our brand as a cooperative of employers moving health care forward to control costs, and engage individuals in their health.

Results demonstrate that our efforts have paid off. Across all groups surveyed – members, agents and third-party administrators – overall satisfaction with The Alliance improved. There were statistically significant gains in two key indicators: “willingness to recommend” and “surety of understanding the benefits of The Alliance”. Other headlines:

  • 89 percent of members now see us as a trustworthy and approachable strategic partner.
  • A majority of members (65 percent) have recommended The Alliance.
  • A majority of agents and consultants (66 percent) are willing to recommend The Alliance.

Additionally, our provider network and claims repricing function continue to be high priorities and members rank these as among the most important attributes of The Alliance.

Future Products

Our members have also requested that we expand to new markets and develop additional strategies to help control health care costs. Specifically, members want us to add hospitals in northern Illinois to our QualityCounts® reports and to assist with developing steerage to high value care and providers. We have incorporated these suggestions in to our business plan for the upcoming fiscal year.

Thanks to everyone who completed Project 360 and who offered suggestions for new products and services. We value your feedback! If you have questions or other ideas, I’d love to hear from you.

Cheryl DeMars

Cheryl DeMars

President & CEO at The Alliance
Cheryl DeMars joined The Alliance in 1992, assuming several roles before becoming CEO in December 2006. Cheryl works with the Board of Directors and senior leadership team to establish the strategic direction of the cooperative.

Cheryl participates in a number of national and regional initiatives that align with The Alliance’s mission of controlling costs, improving quality and engaging individuals in their health. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the board of the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality.

Prior to joining The Alliance, Cheryl was a program manager at Meriter Hospital in Madison. She earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Cheryl DeMars