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“Employers are now thinking about how to
manage resources within healthcare ...
and they’re interested in innovative strategies
and new partnerships with healthcare facilities.”
because it has a
cadre of faculty
who are looking
to innovate in
16 U MAGAZINE
How does the Affordable Care Act (ACA) affect
an academic institution such as UCLA?
Dr. Cherry: A lot of changes actually started before
the ACA. We are looking more systematically at
managing the health of populations, potentially
in collaboration with other employers. Employers
are now thinking about how to manage resources
within healthcare, as well, and they’re interested
in innovative strategies and new partnerships
with healthcare facilities. An example of such a
partnership is UCLA’s new collaboration with
other leading healthcare centers in Los Angeles and
Orange counties to offer an integrated, multicenter
health-plan option through a new Anthem Blue
Cross entity called Vivity. The California Public
Employee’s Retirement system already has signed
on as the plan’s first major customer. In another
example, some very-large employers are developing
centers of clinical excellence, not just within their
local community, but also at places distant from their
primary location. For certain types of tertiary and
quaternary care, patients are traveling to facilities
where the employer knows that the outcomes are
consistent and strong. Employers want to know
that their workers, who go to particular facilities
for certain types of care, are not only getting high-
quality care, but they’re also getting it at a cost that
may be less than if they were to go to a local hospital
or, in some cases, a local academic medical center.
For us to be able to compete in that environment, we
need to demonstrate that we can provide services to
patients that employers will find attractive as well.
In addition, employers are looking very carefully at
their network of physicians and hospitals, and they
are starting to develop preferred-provider networks
so that they can manage their employee population
with a set of healthcare facilities that are favorable
in terms of the types of healthcare outcomes they
are seeking. They are also reading publicly reported
measures and making judgments about organizations.
With that degree of transparency, it becomes very
important that we put our best foot forward so that
we’re attractive to employers and health plans.
Finally, some large companies are starting to
consider public and private healthcare exchanges,
and that’s putting pressure on academic medical
centers, which are structured for high-end complex
tertiary and quaternary care, making the cost
structure unfavorable for a lot of routine care.
It means that we need to deliver value in the care
that we’re providing — whether it’s primary and
secondary care or tertiary and quaternary care.
What advantages does UCLA offer over some
of these other options for employers?
Dr. Cherry: UCLA has extraordinary advantages
because it has a cadre of faculty who are looking
to innovate in this area. From a health-system-
leadership point of view, we have a chief innovation
officer, Dr. Molly Coye, who encourages faculty and
other staff to look at creative ways of redesigning
care within the institution through new technology
and innovative treatment models. In addition, we
have a chief operations officer, Shannon O’Kelley,