Legislative outreach enhances The Everett Clinic, part of Optum, effectiveness in policy debates and strengthens the Clinic’s ability to help shape healthcare policy for the benefit of patients and the community. We work to:
Promote Transparent Healthcare
A transparent healthcare system promotes higher quality and more cost-effective care. Prices for medical services can vary greatly for the same procedure, in the same area and even within the same network. The Clinic supports efforts such as the development of a statewide all-payer claims database to enable patients to compare treatment costs and make informed decisions about getting quality care at a reasonable price. When healthcare systems see other organizations providing the same quality service at a lower price, it motivates them to make necessary changes.
Preserve Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage plans reimburse providers for keeping patients healthy through prevention, care coordination and disease management. This is better for patients, reduces provider losses and helps bring down healthcare costs. The Everett Clinic supports Medicare Advantage plans because they are a step in the right direction toward getting Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, on a solid financial footing to ensure that people can continue to receive care.
Increase Medicare Reimbursements
Many people over age 65 find it difficult to access care because providers are losing money on every Medicare patient they serve. In many case providers are no longer taking Medicare patients. In the Puget Sound region, payments are less than the actual cost of care. The Everett Clinic loses $10 million each year on Medicare services. Policymakers must focus on Medicare reimbursements to ensure people can continue to have access to care.
Pay For Outcomes
Currently, Medicare pays providers for each procedure they perform, which is called fee-for-service. This drives up healthcare costs. There is no financial incentive to keep patients healthy and no one is accountable for ensuring that care is patient-focused and cost-effective. Prevention, education and even chronic disease management – which can help cut costs and sustain or improve patients' health – may not be reimbursed adequately or even at all. The Medicare payment formula must be changed to promote better outcomes for patients and preserve the long-term financial viability of the program.
Keep Healthcare Affordable
The Everett Clinic advocates for and is committed to efforts that reduce unnecessary cost, avoid waste and provide equally effective, lower-cost alternatives whenever available. We prescribe generic drugs when possible, to keep costs down. The Clinic has reduced the use of advanced imaging (up to 39 percent) by ensuring it’s used only when necessary. This cuts down on out-of-pocket costs for the patient. By providing the highest quality of evidence-based care, we help make healthcare more affordable for our patients.