“The basic premise behind value-based health care is to create a culture of health that enables plan participants to stay well, helps sick people improve and provides the best care for each dollar spent,” said IFEPB CEO Michael Wilson.

VBHC emphasizes the importance of organizations partnering with plan participants to create a culture of health in the workplace to manage costs and improve the quality of care. It strives to remove barriers to care and align both financial and non-financial incentives and rewards for living healthy and productive lifestyles, by using high-value prevention, health enhancement and health care services.

“Although value-based health care is beginning to find wider acceptance, overall participation remains low,” said Wilson. “Our data shows an increase of employers using value-based health care strategies, from 16% to 37% between 2010 and 2011, so there is movement in the right direction.”

According to the International Foundation’s white paper, multiemployer and public employee plans engaged in VBHC activities are finding early successes in all areas of the initiative. This includes participation in health fairs, working with effective providers and encouraging participants to take prescribed medications. Plans that have been engaged in VBHC initiatives over several years are finding evidence that employees’ health improves and workers take fewer sick days.

“We’re finding that organizations are beginning to get better data on their participants’ health care issues ranging from the type of conditions that necessitated a visit to the doctor to whether participants are opting for generic drugs to fill their prescriptions,” said Paul Hackleman, a health care and public employer analyst with the International Foundation. “With this data, organizations are able to make educated value-based decisions about providers and wellness initiatives.”

Added Wilson: “Regardless of how VBHC is initiated within organizations, it is the single best strategy to achieve healthy, energetic, and high-performing employees while managing health care costs.”

The white paper is part of an ongoing initiative to provide practical ways for multiemployer and public employer plans to integrate VBHC strategies. The initiative is funded in part by a grant from Pfizer Inc.

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