Chairman Pallone, Ranking Member Deal, and members of the Subcommittee on Health, thank you for the opportunity to participate in this hearing regarding the prevention and treatment of breast cancer.
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization with over three and a half decades of experience promoting access to quality health care, fairness in the workplace, and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. Over the past 15 years, the National Partnership has brought together a wide range of consumer and patient groups to push for meaningful reforms of our health care system — focusing on improving quality, getting costs under control and expanding affordable coverage. We are pleased to support the efforts of this Subcommittee and others in Congress to enact comprehensive health care reform this year.
Health care reform is essential to the well-being of women and families, and the long-term economic vitality of our nation. For women, health care reform must include:
This is a historic moment — a moment of great opportunity. For the first time in decades, Congress is poised to enact comprehensive reform that would vastly improve the lives and well-being of America’s women and families. We thank this Subcommittee for its leadership and commitment to reform, and are pleased to endorse H.R. 3200, “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009”, because it:
H.R. 3200 helps to shore up primary care for patients, encourages better care coordination through new payment models such as bundling, accountable care organizations, and medical homes, and supports these new payment models with comparative effectiveness research, workforce development, better data collection and quality measurement and improvement.
It is the development and use of quality measures that I am here today to discuss, for breast cancer care and for our system as a whole. The assessment of provider performance and the use of measures to generate better accountability are critical to the delivery system reforms outlined in H.R.3200. Without the right measures and measurement, we can’t know if we are delivering better quality or more patient-centered care; we can’t tell if we are using our health care dollars effectively, and we can’t transition to value- as opposed to volume- based payment. Without good measurement, we can’t assess and eliminate disparities, and we can’t tell whether new payment models like ACOs, medical homes, or bundled payment are resulting in better care for patients or leading to adverse results like under-use or cherry picking. Without good measurement, we simply cannot achieve the quality, effective care that all patients need and deserve.
Congresswoman Castor has clearly recognized the importance of measurement in her bill, H.R. 2279, the “Eliminating Disparities in Breast Cancer Treatment Act of 2009.” Ms. Castor, I applaud you for your commitment and leadership on women’s health issues. We share your goals of moving our delivery system to reward value over volume, incentivize quality and accountability, improve patient experience of care, and eliminate disparities in access and treatment.
We particularly appreciate the provisions of H.R. 2279 that move us towards quality measurement and public reporting at the individual provider level, and the implementation of a value-based purchasing program. We believe that these elements — measurement, reporting, quality improvement, and the right payment incentives — are critical to the broader delivery system reforms contemplated in the health reform debate. Therefore, we stand ready to work with you and your colleagues to develop and implement a pathway for these reforms. But we urge that we do so in a way that benefits all patients, no matter what their condition or diagnosis, and in a way that generates accountability for quality and patient care among all providers and in all care settings.
It is this vision that led the National Partnership to work with a broad group of health care stakeholders — including the American Medical Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the American Hospital Association, major employers, AARP, the AFL-CIO and many consumer groups, who all share the belief that good performance measurement is the necessary platform for the payment and delivery system changes that will get us to better quality and lower costs. This group, which now includes more than 200 endorsing organizations and has come to be called “Stand for Quality”, issued a set of recommendations earlier this year that call for:
We are pleased that H.R. 3200 has incorporated the Stand for Quality recommendations and applaud the members of this subcommittee for their leadership in recognizing that a comprehensive strategy for quality measurement and improvement is the critical foundation for the delivery system reforms that will make health insurance reform sustainable over the long term.
Mr. Chairman, and members of this subcommittee, I thank you for the opportunity to testify here today, and I look forward to working with you to ensure passage of a health care reform bill that will improve access to quality, affordable and equitable care for all Americans.
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.