–  Visit GoingBelowTheSurface.org to Learn More –

(WASHINGTON, D.C., November 6, 2019) — The Going Below The Surface Forum – representing patient groups, providers, payers, employers and life science organizations – today announced a series of efforts to drive an informed, sustained and action-oriented dialogue to address the nation’s health spending issues.

The Forum’s work is designed to raise awareness of and tackle a variety of health spending challenges, starting with key questions on how much and how best to spend on health care. Topics include understanding how to spend more effectively on health care; identifying the perverse incentives that drive up costs without improving care; and considering the specific areas where spending can be cut to allow investment in next-generation innovation, among other challenges.

Initial activities have focused on a series of signature programs:

  • The Going Below The Surface Forum has developed an initiative to address low-value, or unnecessary care, which costs the U.S. health system $340 billion annually for treatments or services that don’t offer real value for patients. As part of this initiative, later this year the Forum is planning to launch a step-by-step guide for use by health care stakeholders as they consider and implement low-value care interventions.
  • Forum members have engaged community health care leaders at the state and local level through town hall meetings to call attention to health spending topics and potential solutions. To date, two meetings, led by Going Below The Surface Forum partners Healthcare Leadership Council and the National Pharmaceutical Council, have taken place in Raleigh, N.C., and Nashville, Tenn., spurring dialogue about ways to reduce health spending across all industry sectors.
  • Additional town hall meetings are planned for Columbus, Ohio; Manchester, N.H.; Richmond, Va.; Salt Lake City; Las Vegas; and Miami. Those meetings will focus on what states and communities can do – or are already doing—to address health spending challenges.
  • The Forum publishes a monthly e-newsletter dedicated to exploring new research and insights into health spending questions.

“AcademyHealth is pleased to participate in evidence-based, multi-sectoral efforts to tackle the complex issues driving health spending in the United States,” said Lisa Simpson, MB, BCh, MPH, FAAP, President and CEO, AcademyHealth.

“ACHP is happy to join this broad group of stakeholders, ready to take on one of the most pressing challenges in health care today. In our fragmented system, focused more on volume of care than value, it’s up to us to align the incentives around what is best for families, communities and the nation. We look forward to working with GBTS to shine a light on high prices and actions that produce better health outcomes,” said Ceci Connolly, President and CEO, Alliance of Community Health Plans.

“The U.S. spends far more than any other developed country on health care each year. We believe the most effective way to lower these overall costs while ensuring the best quality care for the patient is to continue moving the system toward a value-based approach,” said Jerry Penso, MD, MBA, President and CEO, AMGA. “AMGA members are leading this change and we hope to share their best practices through the work of the Going Below The Surface Forum. We believe the challenge of health care spending can only be solved by bringing players from different sectors of health care together as the forum does.”

“For nearly 20 years, CAHC has fought to enact market-based solutions to lower health care costs for all Americans, and we are delighted to take part in this broader coalition effort dedicated to that same goal. With health care costs continuing to rise faster than wages or inflation, the mission of the Going Below The Surface Forum could not be timelier. We look forward to partnering with these other health care leaders for the important work that lies ahead,” said Joel White, President, Council for Affordable Health Care Coverage.

Going Below The Surface is not only a valuable initiative, it’s an essential one. If we are to move toward an optimal health care system, one in which groundbreaking innovations lead to improved population health, then we need to figure out how to remove unproductive and counterproductive spending from the system and ensure that resources are effectively focused toward benefiting patients and consumers. Achieving a consensus on our health care future isn’t easy, but these discussions are a critical first step,” said Mary R. Grealy, President, Healthcare Leadership Council.

“The National Health Council (NHC) promotes increased access to affordable, high-value, sustainable health care for those with chronic diseases and disabilities and their family caregivers,” said Eleanor Perfetto, PhD, MS, NHC’s Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives. “We are a part of The Going Below the Surface Forum because it is tackling the health care spending issue from a variety of angles, working to find solutions for a complex problem.”

“Discussions about health spending today often take place in silos, without the kind of dialogue between different parts of the system that is needed to build consensus and find solutions,” said Robert W. Dubois, MD, PhD, Chief Science Officer and Executive Vice President, National Pharmaceutical Council. “The Going Below the Surface Forum will play a key role in building the connections we need to make meaningful progress to address this issue.”

The organizations engaged in the GBTS Forum include:

The Forum was borne from the National Pharmaceutical Council’s Going Below the Surface initiative, a research-first endeavor intended to engage stakeholders across the health care ecosystem in conversation about health care spending in the United States. Visit GoingBelowTheSurface.org to learn more about the initiative, and follow along with the conversation using #GoingBelowTheSurface on social media.