Employer task force launched to focus on reducing low-value health services

Richmond, Virginia July 9, 2019 – Today, at a meeting of the Virginia Center for Health Innovation’s (VCHI) board and leadership council, Virginia Health and Human Resources Secretary Daniel Carey, announced the creation of an employer task force as part of VCHI’s new Smarter Care Virginia initiative.  Smarter Care Virginia, launched in March 2019, is a statewide pilot focused on the reduction of low-value health services. The project is funded by a three-year, $2.2M grant from Arnold Ventures.

Low-value health services include medical tests and procedures that research has proven add no value in particular clinical circumstances and can lead to potential patient harm and a higher total cost of care. The purpose of the Smarter Care Virginia employer task force is to develop and adopt a Virginia Plan to Improve Health Value in collaboration with medical professionals from six Virginia health systems and three clinically integrated networks that are part of a clinical learning collaborative already underway.

Operating in tandem with the clinical learning collaborative, the Smarter Care Virginia employer task force will serve as a vehicle to increase employer knowledge of low-value health services, expose Virginia employers to other employers across the country that are mobilizing for improvement, and engage employers in action they can take in employee communications, benefit design, and contracting to drive sustainable improvement. 

VCHI began tracking Virginia’s provision of low-value health care beginning in 2013 through its partnership with Virginia Health Information (VHI) and Milliman MedInsight, using claims data from Virginia’s All Payer Claims Database and the Health Waste Calculator tool. Most recently, the VCHI/VHI low-value services report analyzed 42 measures of low-value health services using 2017 claims data for 5 million Virginians and identified 2.07 million unnecessary services costing $747 million dollars. This data made it clear that Virginia needed to do much better.  

Secretary Daniel Carey will co-chair the group with Robert Blue, Executive Vice President and President and CEO of the Power Delivery Group at Dominion Energy.  On the selection of task force members, Secretary Carey noted. “we sought to include both public and private employers, employers that are self-insured and fully-insured, and employers from Virginia’s various geographic regions.  Some have Virginia-only employees and others are international in their employee footprint.  They all come with a desire to offer high-value health care for their employees. Together, they will help us identify and implement innovative solutions for Virginia employers to do just that; we hope to learn from the expertise of all.”  The opportunity to serve on the task force was open to any interested organization. VCHI worked with both co-chairs and Mindy Carlin of the Virginia Business Council to select the group members.

Both public and private employers are uniquely positioned to help reduce low-value and unnecessary services. Through benefit design and employee communications, employers can drive change by helping employees become advocates for their own health by seeking appropriate care. “As purchasers of health services, employers can leverage policies and contracts so that the benefits we provide employees are designed to reduce low-value care and support high-value care; ensuring an efficient use of resources. Employers have much to contribute and much to gain from engaging in this work”, said Robert Blue of Dominion Energy, who will serve as the group’s co-chair. 

In addition to the co-chairs, task force members include:

  • Chris Beckford, President & CEO, eTranservices
  • Doug Bish, Associate Professor, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech
  • Carlos Del Toro, President & CEO, SBG Technology Solutions
  • Emily Elliott, Director, Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Human Resource Management
  • Wina Giddens, Director, Benefits & HRIS, The Port of Virginia
  • Farrell Hanzaker, CFO, Virginia Beach City Public Schools
  • Dean Lynch, Executive Director, Virginia Association of Counties
  • Clayton Medford, VP Government Affairs, Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce
  • Starr Oliver, SEVP, Chief Marketing and HR Officer, TowneBank
  • Nicole Riley, Virginia State Director, NFIB
  • Lisa Swaney, Chief Human Resource Officer, Smithfield
  • Meredith Touchstone, Director, Benefits, Carmax
  • Matthew Turner, VP, Global Total Rewards, HRIS, and People Analytics, Genworth

There are a few remaining slots on the task force which will be confirmed in the coming weeks. The first meeting is scheduled for September 2019 and the group will convene quarterly through September 2021.  More information about the Employer Task Force can be found here.

About the Virginia Center for Health Innovation

Incorporated in January 2012 following a recommendation from Gov. Robert McDonnell’s Virginia Health Reform Initiative, the Virginia Center for Health Innovation (VCHI) seeks to facilitate innovation by convening key stakeholders and securing the resources to accelerate value-driven models of wellness and health care throughout Virginia. VCHI’s work is focused on achieving three aims: reducing low-value health care, increasing high-value health care, and ensuring Virginia has the infrastructure in place to measure and reward value in health care. Among its many innovative projects, the most notable for their alignment with this initiative are the Virginia Health Value Dashboard and the Virginia Scorecards on Payment Reform. For more information visit: www.vahealthinnovation.org and follow on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.