Sunday, January 29, 2012

Health Policy Center Launched

Philanthropic pioneers Gary and Mary West launched the West Health Policy Center in Washington D.C at the Health Care Innovations Summit held January 26th in Washington D.C. The goal is to save up to $100 billion in cumulative healthcare costs within ten years.

The event partnered by CMS, Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, West Wireless Health Institute, and Health Affairs brought together health delivery systems, physicians, innovators, policymakers, academics, and investors to help find payment solutions already working in the marketplace.

“Healthcare costs are rising at an unsustainable rate and which has caused a national crisis, has threatened our economy and national security, weakens our global competitiveness, causes millions of jobs to be “offshored” and violates public trust,” said Gary West. “It is vital for the future of our country to begin immediately to focus on some common sense changes in healthcare reimbursement and regulation.”

Independently funded by a multi-year, multi-million dollar commitment from the Wests, the Policy Center is the only non-profit, non-partisan organization with the single aim of lowering healthcare costs.

The Policy Center will initially work to:

• Provide patients with the right care, at the right time, wherever they are, whenever they need it. This will be enabled by new models of care coordination powered by smart technology

• Provide timely, easily accessible, easily understandable and actionable price data that enables consumers and providers to fully understand the costs associated with diagnostic, therapeutic, and routine healthcare choices

• Advocate for reimbursement models that incentivize development and use of equally or more effective low cost high value alternatives to the status quo

• Provide research and analysis for clear regulatory pathways to expeditiously bring tools to enable infrastructure-independent low-cost care to consumers and clinicians

• Identify wasteful, costly, unnecessary, or duplicated healthcare spending

The Policy Center will establish a competitive fellowship program where five established researchers will be selected through a nationwide application and interview process each year based on their ability to identify at least $1 billion in actionable annual healthcare cost savings.

The Policy Center’s first fellow is Dr. Peter Neumann, an internationally renowned researcher on the use of cost effectiveness analysis in healthcare decision making. He currently serves as the Director of the Center for the Evaluation of Value and Risk in Health at the Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.

He will join the other fellows to identify opportunities for regulatory and reimbursement changes ensuring that the rules across CMS, FCC, and FDA are aligned with each other to allow for equal or better clinical outcomes at lower costs.

For more information on the West Health Policy Center, go to, for more information on the West Wireless Health Institute, go to and for more information on the Health Care Innovations Summit, go to