VIEW FROM HERE: Improving State Health Policy Leadership

Christopher F. Koller, President of the Milbank Memorial Fund

You would think a billion-dollar-a-year organization that pays its chief 20% of the market rate and turns that role over every two years—as is the case with state Medicaid programs—might start to consider the importance of leadership. Leadership also seems important for a public health agency charged with guarding the safety of food, water, and patient care, or a child welfare or human services agency.

Good leadership is equally vital in state legislatures, where officials construct state
budgets—nothing less than public values statements—and develop laws, arbitrating between competing demands and conflicting notions of the public good.

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Measuring Cost Across a State’s Health Care System

The measurement of cost across a state’s health care system—and setting targets for cost reduction—is a relatively new focus for states. In April, the Milbank Memorial Fund published a report on total cost of care (TCOC) measurement in four states, describing and comparing the policies in those states driving the activity, and the technical operations supporting it. As more states move to a population-based construct for health and health care, efforts to capture information on—and track and set policy limits for—total health care costs will become more prevalent.

With more states looking to contain cost growth, the Fund is extending this work into a second phase focused on further advancing knowledge and practice.

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Christopher Koller Co-Authors JAMA Viewpoint

Fund President Christopher Koller, Milbank Quarterly op-ed contributor Joshua M. Sharfstein, MD, and former Reforming States Group member Ann Hwang have published a Viewpoint in a recent issue of JAMA, entitled, “State Leadership in Health Care Transformation, Red and Blue.” The paper, which focuses on the reasons why states play such an important role in improving population health, examines the function of states as purchasers, regulators, providers of health care services, collectors of data, and grantees.

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Health Services Research Impact Award: Call for Nominations

AcademyHealth is currently accepting nominations for its Health Services Resarch (HSR) Impact Award, which recognizes outstanding health services research that has made a positive impact on health policy and/or practice, and has been successfully translated into health policy, management, or clinical practice.

The award winner will be announced at AcademyHealth’s 2016 National Health Policy Conference, February 1-2, in Washington, D.C.

Nomination Deadline: August 31, 2015

For more information about the award, including eligibility criteria, past award recipients, and the application process, visit the AcademyHealth website or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..