Health Purchaser Forum

Planning for the next Health Purchaser Forum is underway and will happen the week of March 12th, 2017, in conjunction with National Patient Safety Awareness Week. Stay tuned for more details.

The Health Purchaser Forum offers strategies and tools to help purchasers better serve their companies. Attendees will walk away with ideas on how to empower employers and employees on ways to make money-saving health care decisions.



Over 80 people attended the first ever EAM Health Purchaser Forum on Tuesday, March 8th, 2016, inside the GM Renaissance Conference Center. The event was sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The goal of the forum was empowering employers and purchasers with tools to help reduce health care costs.

Dr. Stephen Martin, from University of Massachusetts Medical School, pointed out that sometimes too much care is bad for your health. He highlighted on how you can have 30 different medicines to lower cholesterol but do any of those medicines actually make you healthier? He touched on how 5% of patients account for 50% of healthcare costs and there needs to be a stronger relationship between patient and doctor. A website tool Dr. Martin referred to when shopping for prescription medications was http://www.goodrx.com/.

Next, President and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, Leah Binder, explained the high-cost of “never events” in hospitals. Never events refer to a list of serious medical errors or adverse events (for example, wrong site surgery or hospital-acquired pressure ulcers) that should never happen to a patient. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) defines never events as “serious, preventable, and costly medical errors.” She highlighted “never event” procedures hospitals should following, including a no-charge to patient policy.

Then Steve Goldberg, Director of Consumer Transparency, for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, described the challenges consumers have when choosing health care insurance options and primary care physicians. Only 14% of consumers understand the terms: co-pay, deductible, co-insurance and out-of-pocket max. Mr. Goldberg then introduced bcbsm.com’s new integrated consumer tool that provides a physician finder and cost estimator.

Lastly, from the Maine Health Management Coalition, Frank Johnson and Lorrie Marquis, discussed an employer value-based purchasing strategy to drive costs down. They stressed that employers have to help get employees engaged through education and benefit designs. Then employers need to focus on rewarding hospitals who excel at patient safety and quality of care.

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