History and Accomplishments

Moving Health Care Forward

In 1990, seven Madison-area employers gathered around a table to find a better way to buy health care. They were looking for a solution that gave them more control over escalating health benefit costs. The Alliance was created from that first meeting. Since then, we have been committed to the following three objectives:

  • Making purchasing decisions based on quality and cost
  • Promoting consumerism in health care choices
  • Creating and sustaining value-added partnership between employers and providers

1990 – 1991

  • Employer Health Care Alliance Cooperative is established with 7 members
  • First Annual Meeting held
  • Healthy Answers established

1991 – 1992

  • First Provider Directory published
  • Quality Forum is formed and develops the Community Quality Initiative and Quality Composite System
  • Began receiving claims electronically

1992 – 1993

  • Added mental health and chiropractic networks
  • Introduced BabyLove
  • Introduced Healthy People at Work
  • First member survey
  • Began sending member newsletter

1993 – 1994

  • Preferred pricing relationships developed for HRAs, flu shots, and Wellness Council membership
  • Board of Directors Governance Committee established
  • Introduced Return on Investment (ROI) report
  • Worksite wellness calendar developed

1994 – 1995

  • Alliance-Chamber Health Insurance Program (A-CHIP) developed
  • Home Health providers added to the network
  • Take Care of Yourself book and worksite seminar offered

1995 – 1996

  • Longevity credit introduced for members in the cooperative four years or more
  • Quality Forum focuses on tobacco cessation
  • Seminars provided to members on HIPAA

1996 – 1997

  • Improvements to employer reports, claims system
  • First patient satisfaction survey
  • Preferred pricing relationship approved for prescription benefit management

1997 – 1998

  • FOCUS reports introduced
  • Alliance website launched
  • Balanced Scorecard introduced to evaluate operational efficiency

1998 – 1999

  • Preferred pricing relationships developed for dental coverage
  • Online Provider Directory launched
  • Quality Forum focuses on diabetes management and antibiotic overuse
  • Electronic claims processing system enhanced

1999 – 2000

  • Preferred relationships developed for travel/wrap network
  • QualityCounts® Medical Group Report released on 24 hospitals and five areas of care, working with Employers Health Cooperative in Janesville
  • QualityCounts® for Employees and QualityCounts® website launched for consumers
  • Awarded National Health Care Purchaser Award by the National Health Care Purchasing Institute for work in educating consumers about choosing value in health care

2000 – 2001

  • Preferred pricing relationships for consumer literature and blood pressure screenings
  • Established Alliance Provider Quality Investment Fund to reward providers for quality improvement
  • Joined The Leapfrog Group
  • Introduced the Consumer Toolkit
  • Enhanced electronic claims transmission to reduce operating costs and improve operational efficiency

2001 – 2002

  • Expanded primary service area to 13 counties, including providers in Dubuque, Iowa
  • Awarded the Ellwood Award from the Foundation for Accountability for our work with QualityCounts®
  • Became a Regional Roll-Out Leader for Leapfrog
  • Co-sponsored meeting which would lead to development of the Wisconsin Purchasers for Quality (WHPQ)
  • Began working with Fond du Lac Area Businesses on Health to reprice claims

2002 – 2003

  • Created the How to Be a Wise Health Care Consumer and the Patient Safety Toolkit
  • One of three groups to found WisconsinRx not-for-profit prescription drug purchasing coalition

2003 – 2004

  • Created the Diabetes Toolbox
  • Introduce a Performance-Based Reimbursement pilot

2004 – 2005

  • Introduced skilled nursing facilities and ambulance services
  • Co-sponsored the national Quality Based Health Care Purchasing Conference with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
  • Judith Hibbard article Does Publicizing Hospital Performance Stimulate Quality Improvement Efforts? about the QualityCounts® report appears in Health Affairs

2005 – 2006

  • Began a project to revamp existing Provider Directory
  • Preferred pricing relationship developed for a broader national wrap network
  • Joined with other Wisconsin health care leaders to create The Wisconsin Health Information Organization

2006 – 2007

  • Recognized as a Community Leader for Value-Driven Health Care by the US Department of Health and Human Services
  • Began providing customer service assistance for Spanish speakers
  • Launched Employer Resource Center
  • Redesigned Online Provider Directory
  • Began Project 360 to solicit feedback from members, business partners, and providers and shape the future of The Alliance

2007 – 2008

  • Presented with Annual Quality Award by Florida Health Care Coalition
  • Introduced Customer Relationship Management system to help manage our stakeholder data
  • Nominated an evidence-based practice center topic to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality titled Consumer-Oriented Strategies for Improving health Benefit Design
  • Launched new brand identity and tagline Employers Moving Health Care Forward

2008 – 2009

  • Hosted more than 400 members and guests at our new Alliance Learning Circles networking and learning events
  • Enhanced our health policy strategy and started member health policy committee
  • Investigated new options for wellness vendor through member-led group purchasing committee
  • Added 351 retail clinic locations to the provider network
  • Introduced the first-ever QualityCounts® Outpatient Procedures and Tests report on the cost of non-emergency care

2009 – 2010

  • Preferred relationships introduced with Quantum Health and Health Solutions, Ltd.®
  • Celebrated 20 years as a Cooperative of Employers Moving Health Care Forward by Controlling Costs, Improving Quality, and Engaging Individuals in Their Health

2010 – 2011

  • Began expanding primary network by contracting with providers in 8 Illinois counties.

2011 – 2012

  • Six employers participated in a Value-Based Benefit Design (VBID) Pilot with the goal of encouraging individuals to make better health care decisions.
  • Health policy advocacy: Simplified the withholding requirements related to imputed income.

2012 – 2013

  • Announced the QualityPath® initiative to identify doctors and hospitals that – when working together – meet national standards for delivering quality care for selected procedures.
  • Began phase two of the VBID pilot with four participating employers to design benefit plans that remove barriers to care for targeted chronic conditions.
  • Created an Onsite Clinic User Group to help participating employers share information and identify opportunities.
  • Presented with the Innovations in Quality Award by the Florida Health Care Coalition.

2013 – 2014

  • Find a Doctor was launched. People who access care through The Alliance network can log in to compare the estimated cost of more than 70 procedures.

2014 – 2015

  • QualityPath was launched. Doctor-and-hospital pairings were designated as QualityPath providers for total hip replacement, knee replacement and coronary artery bypass graft (CABG).

2015 – 2016

  • The Alliance celebrates 25 years as an employer-owned cooperative.

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