AHIP Advances New National Strategy to Improve Health Care Safety and Quality

Plan calls for new entity to compare effectiveness of treatments and technologies;

Modernize and strengthen the FDA

WASHINGTON, April 19, 2007 -- Patients and physicians will have more information to make value-based health care decisions under a comprehensive new strategy to improve the safety and quality of medical care released today by the Board of Directors of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).

The plan calls for the development of a new entity to compare the safety and efficacy of medical procedures and technologies, advocates steps to promote transparency of health care information and speed the adoption of best practices, and calls for the creation of a new patient-centered dispute resolution mechanism.

“Improving the safety and quality of care will allow the nation to more quickly provide coverage to all Americans,” said Karen Ignagni, President and CEO of AHIP. “We can enhance the value of the nation’s investment in health care and ensure that patients receive the right care at the right time in the right setting.”

The absence of objective, patient- and physician-friendly information related to the value of medical services has come into sharp focus in recent years as safety and efficacy concerns have arisen related to a series of common treatments and technologies, including autologous bone marrow transplantation, implantable cardioverter defibrillators, Cox-2 inhibitors, and arterial stents.

The AHIP plan addresses this urgent challenge by advocating a three-point program: creating a new public-private partnership charged with providing up-to-date and objective information on which health care services are most effective and provide the best value; assuring that the FDA has the authority to monitor the long-term impact of new drugs, devices and biologicals; and, adopting a national medical research agenda that closes gaps in knowledge and provides actionable information to patients and physicians.

“Our nation’s medical research and innovation give hope to patients across the world, and we can give them even better care if we have a mechanism to evaluate which medical treatments and technologies are the safest and most effective,” Ignagni said.

Key elements of the new plan include:

• Establishing a new national entity to evaluate and compare the safety, efficacy and cost effectiveness of new and existing health care treatments and technologies, including prescription drugs and medical devices.

• Reforming the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to improve its ability to assess the long-term safety and effectiveness of newly approved drugs and devices.

• Setting a national research agenda that addresses known gaps in evidence and makes communication regarding ongoing research studies a national priority.

• Accelerating efforts to give patients and their physicians the information they need to make value-based health care decisions.

• Emphasizing the adoption of best practices.

• Developing innovative tools to help physicians and patients manage chronic conditions.

• Creating a new, nationwide medical dispute resolution system that focuses on protecting patients and eliminates the runaway costs and risks of defensive medicine, suppression of information about medical errors, and litigation.

The new plan to improve quality and safety follows a proposal to expand access to coverage that AHIP’s Board of Directors released last November.

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Contact:
Mohit Ghose
(202) 778-8494

Posted: April 2007


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