Caron says there is intense interest across the country in finding new ways for payers and providers to work together in a manner that fits their unique market circumstances.
"Both sides are coming together to leverage the other's competency," he said. "There's an openness to pilot and work together to try new things… It's not going to be a cookie-cutter approach."
Barbara Ladon, managing director at Denver-based Newpoint Healthcare Advisors, told me last week that size is an important consideration for providers seeking closer relationships with payers. Large health systems have more options because their larger scale allows them to take on increased risk and play a health plan role. "The smaller hospitals—150 to 200 beds—are looking for collaborative relationships," she told me.
Drawing payers and providers closer together should help to create a value-based healthcare delivery system. "It's all based on improving the health of the population," Ladon said. "Providers are incented to take on the responsibility for managing the care of the population."
In terms of increasing value, there also is a powerful logical reason to pursue closer payer/provider relationships: partners work together better than adversaries.