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'No Turning Back': Azar Outlines 4 Focal Points in Value-Based Push

By Steven Porter  
   March 06, 2018

During a speech Monday, the HHS secretary called for the healthcare sector to embrace market forces and value-based payment models.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar spoke Monday during a Federation of American Hospitals conference in Washington, where he emphasized four areas in which he aims to change the way healthcare works.

Azar, who was sworn in five weeks ago after serving as an Eli Lilly & Co. executive, called for public and private stakeholders alike to embrace competitive market forces and value-based payment models.

“Providers have been understandably reluctant to charge into a completely new payment paradigm. Massive new processes and data-gathering requirements have been instituted, without any fundamental changes to our delivery system. Results for the early stages of federal efforts to encourage accountable care organizations have been, to be honest, underwhelming,” Azar said, according to his remarks as prepared for delivery.

“But there is no turning back to an unsustainable system that pays for procedures rather than value.”

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Azar signaled that he and President Donald Trump are looking to take drastic measures to accomplish their agenda in the healthcare sector.

“We are unafraid of disrupting existing arrangements simply because they’re backed by powerful special interests,” he said.

This effort—which aims to reorient the healthcare market around patients and, when necessary, their third-party payers—unites all four areas of emphasis outlined Monday.

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During the HIMMS conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma will join White House Office of American Innovation representative Jared Kushner to announce a number of actions by the Trump administration, Azar said.

Steven Porter is editor at HealthLeaders.

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