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Healthcare Reform and Geisinger

Reforming the Healthcare Delivery System - Presented to Committee on Finance United States Senate

At Geisinger Health System, we serve a population that is poorer, older and sicker than the national average. Most of our patients have multiple chronic diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and lung disease. Our patients have difficulty navigating through a complex healthcare system. To maximize their ability to access care, we’ve launched several innovative programs aimed at bringing quality and value to healthcare.

At Geisinger, we hold ourselves to the highest standards to ensure quality outcomes for our patients. For example, if a patient is readmitted to a hospital after a procedure or an in-patient stay, we believe we have failed that patient. Consequently, we have committed significant resources and have worked aggressively to bring value to healthcare and eliminate failures by redesigning how we provide care.

WVIA Dr. Steele Interview

Bill Kelly of WVIA interviews Glenn D. Steele, MD, Phd, President and Chief Executive Officer of Geisinger Health System.

The innovations we have instituted at Geisinger that bundle payments for acute care procedures, enhance support for primary care physicians and their care teams, better manage chronic disease and the transitions of care for patients from caregiver to caregiver, have produced significant cost savings and improved quality. Admissions for our patients with multiple chronic diseases have been reduced by as much as 25% and readmissions following discharges decreased by as much as 50% in community sites. I believe that what we have accomplished can be adopted nationally and will achieve similar cost savings while improving quality. This would result in significant positive consequences for large payors, particularly Medicare.


President, national media laud Geisinger as role model for health care reform 

President Barack Obama recently praised Geisinger Health System for providing the kind of healthcare and vision America needs.

In his Sept. 9 address to Congress and a speech earlier this summer in Green Bay, WI, the President said: "Even within our own country, a lot of the places where we spend less on healthcare actually have higher quality than places where we spend more. We have to ask why places like the Geisinger Health system in rural Pennsylvania...can offer high-quality care at costs well below average, but other places in America can't. We need to identify the best practices across the country, learn from the success, and replicate that success elsewhere."

President Obama Cites Geisinger

In his healthcare address to Congress Sept. 9, President Obama cited Geisinger as a model of reform.

What makes Geisinger a leader in transforming healthcare?

"Geisinger's approach to patient care can be seen as a microcosm of the broader national landscape of healthcare delivery," says Ron Paulus, MD, PhD, MBA, Executive Vice President, Clinical Operations & Chief Innovation Officer. "The three core strategies of our quality and value initiatives are (1) ProvenHealth Navigation, which wraps a bundle of services around the patient and family and addresses healthy behaviors, disease prevention and disease management; (2) ProvenCare, which optimizes acute interventions; and (3) transitions of care, which recognizes and seeks to ensure care safety during the handoffs between inpatient and outpatient, hospital and nursing home, and home and nursing home."

National media echo Obama's opinion, cites geisinger's success

The president's comments about Geisinger have been augmented by recent reports in a number of prominent national media outlets that say Geisinger is a role-model system that should be considered as national leaders work on healthcare reform.

June 22, 2010, Geisinger Paying to Cut Health Costs - The New York Times looks at Geisinger's focus on helping patients with chronic diseases manage their conditions and stay out of the hospital.

Jan. 7, 2010, Innovative Hospitals Offer Model for Reforms - Financial Times explores how Geisinger has shaken up traditional healthcare practices with innovations considered radical.

Oct. 19, 2009, A Healthier Way to Pay Doctors - Time Magazine looks at the effort to rein in health-care costs by examining Geisinger's group practice approach.

Oct. 18, 2009, Healthcare Cure or Anomaly? - The Philadelphia Inquirer examines Geisinger's ability to deliver high-quality care at costs below average. (no longer available online)

Sept. 8, 2009, Better Care, Less Pay - An Associated Press story that ran in over 300 newspapers notes: "At Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania, pay a flat fee for bypass surgery and you'll get essentially a 90-day warranty on your heart fix. Complications? The hospital has to eat the cost. It gambled that following a checklist of best practices would help patients recover faster and cost less -- and so far, it's winning the bet." (no longer available online)

July 31, 2009, One Company's Innovative Health Care Approach - CNN reports on Geisinger's ProvenCare program.

video streamBetter Care, Pay Less, AP video essay

Aug. 25, 2009, Health Care Innovation Booming in Rural PA - The Philadelphia Inquirer observes: "Compared with the swath of health-care businesses spread out on either side of Interstate 95 from New York to Washington, tiny Danville and Riverside, Pa., at first glance don't seem to have much to offer that industry. But the two hamlets, across the Susquehanna River from each other about 150 miles northwest of Philadelphia, are homes to organizations trying to spark a boom in health-care innovation in rural Pennsylvania." (no longer available online)

Aug. 1, 2009,  Health Reform Up Close - CNN Reports on Geisinger Health System's innovative approaches to providing healthcare quality.

video streamHealth Reform Up Close

July 31, 2009, Fewer Errors on Medical Records - CNN takes a close-up look at one how Geisinger is using electronic medical records to deliver better care and make fewer mistakes.

video streamFewer Errors On Medical Records

June 17, 2009, Obama Calls Geisinger Model for Healthcare - In what was billed as a key policy speech before the American Medical Association in Chicago, the president told thousands in the medical field that Geisinger Health System is a model for how to improve health care nationwide. That is bringing a lot of pride to those who work for Geisinger based just outside of Danville.

video streamReport of President's address to AMA with video

March 31, 2009, For This Health System, Less is More (.pdf) - The Washington Post reports that "In an industry that makes its money by selling more -more tests, more surgeries, more drugs -Geisinger Health System officials gambled three years ago that they could succeed by doing less, but doing it better."


Click to hear Glenn Steele, MD, PhD, Geisinger President & CEO on healthcare reform