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Billionaire Matchmakers Wanted by Healthcare Industry

Christopher Cheney, for HealthLeaders Media, June 4, 2014

There are billions of dollars of future revenue sitting on the value-based delivery system table. Payers and providers have to find a way to work together to seize the opportunities in front of them.

Healthcare payers and providers are facing an existential conundrum.

The effort to push US healthcare delivery to a value-based system has generated a host of opportunities for both sides to work more closely than ever. But after decades of adversarial interaction, the parties are struggling to communicate and barely trust one another.

I recently witnessed the communication breakdown in stark detail.

A month ago, on coincidentally back-to-back interviews, I spoke with a payer for about 30 minutes and a provider for about 30 minutes. It was stunning. They both read from the exact same script about their motivations and goals, but they expressed strong frustration over their respective payer or provider counterparts. And the interviews weren't even for the same story!

The breakdown in trust can even be quantified. A recent ReviveHealth survey gauged how providers view their payer partners. The results are not pretty: If providers had graded their trust in payers on the standard academic A to F scale, nearly every insurer in the country would have failed the trust test.

"It's much, much harder for people to work together when trust is an issue," Brandon Edwards, CEO of Nashville-based ReviveHealth, told me this week.

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