The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) July 17 held a hearing titled, “Reducing Health Care Costs: Eliminating Excess Health Care Spending and Improving Quality and Value for Patients.” The hearing was one in a series examining health care costs [see Washington Highlights, June 29]
Witnesses at the hearing included CEOs from two AAMC member institutions: Jeffrey Balser, MD, PhD, president and CEO, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Dean, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine; and Steven M. Safyer, MD, president and CEO, Montefiore Health System. In his opening statement, Balser linked the rising cost of health care to waste and discussed the steps Vanderbilt has taken to reduce waste, including implementing clinical decision support systems to aid physicians in choosing certain tests or drugs and creating medical homes for complex patients.
Sayfer also relayed the successes of Montefiore as a leading accountable care organization. In his opening remarks Sayfer stated, “We appreciate that our patients need access to high quality providers, who understand their language and culture, are available when needed, and are willing to coordinate with the other providers our patients see. Our patients need information about their conditions, help in learning self-management skills, and linkages to community and government sponsored social service agencies to resolve their socioeconomic challenges. If we don’t accommodate these needs, we cannot succeed in accountable care.”
Additional witnesses at the hearing included David Lansky, PhD, president and CEO, Pacific Business Group on Health; and Brent James, MD, MStat, clinical professor, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine.