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HL20: Suzanne Delbanco, PhD—Pushing for Value-Based Payments

Rene Letourneau, for HealthLeaders Media, December 2, 2013

In our annual HealthLeaders 20, we profile individuals who are changing healthcare for the better. Some are longtime industry fixtures; others would clearly be considered outsiders. Some are revered; others would not win many popularity contests. All of them are playing a crucial role in making the healthcare industry better. This is the story of Suzanne Delbanco, PhD.

This profile was published in the December, 2013 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

"We know that if we don't create the right set of incentives for healthcare quality improvements and cost containment through our payment system, then we will get exactly what we are paying for today."

As the healthcare industry marches slowly but steadily toward a value-based reimbursement model, Suzanne Delbanco, PhD, executive director of Catalyst for Payment Reform, believes harnessing the collective buying power of large healthcare purchasers can and will accelerate the change.

"One of our most important tenets is to try to create some consistent approaches and signals so we can actually move the market," Delbanco says of CPR, a San Francisco–based independent, nonprofit group working on behalf of large employers and other healthcare consumers to increase value-based payments, lower overall care costs, and improve outcomes. CPR's members include some of the largest employers in the country, such as Walmart, AT&T, Verizon Communications, Capital One, GE, Comcast, and 25 others.

Although she says getting all of these major players focused on the same issues is "a bit like herding cats," she also says it is the key to forging tangible results with regard to how health benefits are designed and how healthcare is purchased in the United States.

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