Our series on health policy resolutions continues this month with our resolution on Supporting Consumers with Actionable Cost and Quality Information.

Empowering consumers with information to compare the cost and quality of health care providers is central to the mission of The Alliance. And in the course of our 20+ years, we’ve seen good progress at a national level and through Wisconsin-based initiatives. Yet, many current efforts are designed to serve other aims and thus fall short of the information needed by employers and consumers to make decisions. Information that is relevant to Medicare, or that is designed to help providers improve, or that enables political talking points doesn’t necessarily work for us.

To articulate our priorities for health care information, The Alliance Health Policy Committee drafted a resolution to specify our requirements. You may read the complete resolution here (.pdf).

Some highlights:

  • Outcomes matter – quality measures should include measures of the end result of care, like mortality, complications, readmissions and functional status.
  • Side-by-side comparisons – measures of performance should be displayed in a way that allows side by side comparisons.
  • Voluntary versus mandatory reporting – voluntary reporting initiatives should be given a limited amount of time to demonstrate that they can meet the information needs of consumers and employers. If these efforts fail to deliver, legislative mandates should be pursued.
  • Cost, quality or both? – Ideally, measures of cost and quality should be presented together. But if we only have one or the other, information should still be shared, including appropriate guidance about the missing information.

The membership will have an opportunity to vote on this and all other resolutions at our annual meeting this fall.