23 May 2012

Step by Step, State by State

23 May 2012

I remember when I was a child and my mom would make me watch Sesame Street. Like most things parents force us to do, we almost certainly end up hating them. But there were some days where those muppets were the only ones who could put a smile on my face no matter how hard I tried not to laugh at the situations they found themselves in.  To this day I remember this one jingle: “Cooperation makes it happen. Cooperation working together.” I even found a youtube video to help jog my memory.

Cooperation seems like such an obvious message, but in Michigan they’re putting the idea to the test in an effort to lower healthcare costs. In a Detroit News op-ed Daniel J. Loepp, president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan writes that they’re “finding ways to bend” the “upward [healthcare] cost curve through a number of collaborative ventures.” According to an in-depth analysis released earlier this week by BCBS Michigan, the study “determined that the four Collaborative Quality Initiatives saved more than $230 million over three years by preventing complications, reducing the length of hospital stays and improving patient outcomes.” Loepp says, “Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services, has cited the program as a model for an improved health care system.”

“By having everyone work together, we can determine what’s working and what isn’t, giving huge systemwide boosts to patient safety and clinical quality while lowering costs.” Starting with Michigan, step by step and eventually state by state, we’re coming to the realization that the muppets had it right, cooperation does make it happen.

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