KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Colorado Area’s Health System A Model Of Cost-Effective, Quality Care

A Colorado health system offers a national example of how to set up incentives for pay and provide cost-effective health services.

The Denver Post reports: "Lawmakers struggling to unclog negotiations over sweeping health care reform are focusing on a handful of areas in the country that seem to have cracked the health care code by delivering high-quality care at a bargain price. Among the most prominent, it turns out, is Grand Junction. Understanding why doctors and hospitals in Grand Junction deliver some of the cheapest and best care in the country goes a long way to explaining the problems of the current system, reformers say."

The Denver Post reports on interest from the media and policy experts: "They all want to understand the underpinning of some remarkable statistics... a national study of the treatment of 12 chronic diseases found that Mesa County offered the most cost-effective delivery of Medicare services in the country. The same study found that the average number of days in the hospital, over six months, for those patients was a third of the national average. ... Starting in the 1970s, community leaders and physicians got together to create Rocky Mountain Health Plans, a kind of super-HMO in which small and large businesses, Medicare and Medicaid patients, and patients with individual insurance plans are all enrolled" (Riley, 7/29).

Related: An interactive map showing the regional differences in Medicare spending.

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