Transparency & Public Reporting
The Maine Health Management Coalition believes that what gets measured gets improved, so in an effort to strengthen the quality of care delivered to patients around the state, the MHMC formed the Pathways to Excellence Clinician Steering Committee in 2003. The committee was, and is to this day, a multi-stakeholder group charged with vetting quality measures for use with Maine providers. Perhaps most importantly, however, is that the group is responsible for deciding how those quality measures are displayed on the Coalition’s public reporting website, www.getbettermaine.org.
Shortly after the PTE Clinician Steering Committee began to publicly report on the quality of primary care in 2004, the Coalition started to develop additional measurement areas. The PTE Systems Steering Committee was formed to expand transparency to the hospitals and health systems, and the Clinician Steering Committee began to create pediatric and specialty measures.
Although the Coalition reported on a number of metrics and specialties by 2007, it wasn’t until the State Employee Health Commission (SEHC) began using the Coalition’s ratings in their benefit design that public reporting began to really pick up speed. With the reimbursement of state employees suddenly tied to the Coalition’s primary care and hospital rankings, more and more people began to search out and use high quality providers. This shift marked a turning point in the evolution of the Coalition’s transparency efforts, and the years that followed began to show the effects an empowered consumer can have on a healthcare system.
From 2009 to 2012, the State Employee Health Commission saw flat premium increases where they had once seen double-digit inflation, and while they were saving money on their healthcare costs, their employees began to feel the benefits of higher quality care. Overweight employees increasingly got their weight to a healthy level, and ER utilization among those with chronic disease began to wane. The results of using transparent provider information proved so successful that other large employers, like the University of Maine System, began to follow in the SEHC’s footsteps.
Today transparency is just as important as ever, and the Maine Health Management Coalition continues to create more metrics for employers and the people of Maine to use to make informed decisions about the care they receive. Visit www.getbettermaine.org to see how far public reporting has come, and check back throughout the year to see cost, maternity, patient experience, and other new metrics!