Skip to main content

BPC Health Project Releases White Paper Examining the Opportunities and Challenges for Reforming America’s Health Care Delivery System

Washington, D.C. – As we struggle to redefine our nation’s health care delivery system, the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Health Project released a white paper today, Transitioning from Volume to Value: Opportunities and Challenges for Health Care Delivery System Reform, that examines some of the barriers and potential solutions to moving toward more organized systems of care in light of the current legislative and regulatory environment in Washington, DC.

Earlier this year, the Senate Finance Committee, House Ways and Means Committee, and House Energy and Commerce Committee reached agreement on legislation that would replace the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) physician payment system. The legislation would retain a modified fee-for-service (FFS) system with a value-based incentive structure, and provides incentives to physicians to move away from FFS and participate in alternative models of care and payment.

“There is clear bipartisan support in Congress to repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) payment system for physicians and transition Medicare to a payment and delivery structure that is based on quality and value,” said Senator Bill Frist, MD, co-chair of BPC’s Health Project. “We hope our work over the coming year will offer recommendations to help reach that goal.”

The initiative co-chairs—former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle and Bill Frist, former White House and Congressional Budget Office Director Dr. Alice Rivlin, and former Ranking Member of the House Committee on Ways and Means Congressman Jim McCrery (R-LA)—also recognize that considerable regulatory actions must be taken by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“Regulatory changes in the structure of existing alternative systems of care such as bundled payments, patient-centered medical homes and accountable care organizations are needed to improve the quality and value of our nation’s health care system,” said Senator Tom Daschle, co-chair of BPC’s Health Project.

Transitioning from Volume to Value: Opportunities and Challenges for Health Care Delivery System Reform suggests that the success of a reformed delivery system will depend on how we address the following challenges:

  • Galvanizing widespread participation among providers
  • Engaging and incentivizing patients to participate in alternative systems of care
  • Constructing meaningful quality measurements and fair financial benchmarks
  • Improving quality of care while keeping costs lower than the current FFS system
  • Incentivizing clinicians to change the way they practice to eventually share in both savings and overages
  • Structuring new models of care that best engage and pay specialists
  • Facilitating in the establishment of alternative systems of care in rural areas

This paper is the first in a series to be released over the coming year that will offer recommendations on implementing and accelerating health care delivery and payment reforms in the United States. The Delivery System Reform Initiative builds on the April 2013 BPC report, A Bipartisan Rx for Patient-Centered Care and System-Wide Cost Containment. That report laid out a comprehensive set of policy recommendations for lowering costs, improving quality, and reducing inefficiency across the health care system.

“Recent legislative efforts to replace the Medicare SGR physician payment system provide a real opportunity to have a bipartisan conversation about alternative systems of care that will help improve care and reduce costs,” said Katherine Hayes, BPC Director of Health Policy. “Our initiative seeks to accelerate that conversation and existing efforts to improve care across the country. We will produce a series of policy solutions in the coming year to help facilitate the transition to a value-based health system in the United States.”

To learn more about BPC’s Health Project, click here.