Total Cost of Care

Several states have adopted policies that focus on measuring and setting a growth rate target for total cost of care. By looking at the cost performance across all payers of the system as a whole or a particular set of services such as hospital care, these states hope to facilitate delivery system reform.

At the request of several states, the Fund launched a project in 2015 to assess and document methods that states use to set a rate of growth target for total cost of care measures. The Fund’s initial report looks at four states as models for this activity—and assesses how they are going about this work. How are they documenting costs, projecting growth rates, and setting targets?

In addition to tracking the original states’ work, additional states are developing policies and technical capacity for health care cost measurement. The Fund continues to facilitate state-to-state interaction on this topic to enhance collaborative learning for both the states involved in the project and others states considering this policy activity.

Another focus for the Fund is developing and supporting the use of measures for primary care spending.  These measures will strengthen the evidence base for primary care, and inform national and state policy activities. The Fund will continue to work with policymakers and stakeholders to advance this work.

Total Cost of Care News

  • Comparing and Monitoring State Health Care Spending Trends

    Oct 31, 2017

    We have heard a lot about health care costs lately—and state health leaders and the public have many questions about them. Does my state spend more on health care than others? How much does spending vary based on who is paying? How has that spending changed over time and why? Measurement activities continue at both the national and state level. Here are two recent updates: Comparing … Read more

  • Fund Publishes Report on Standardizing the Measurement of Commercial Health Plan Primary Care Spending

    Jul 25, 2017

    Primary care is often acknowledged as the foundation of any high-performing health care delivery system. But how much of our health dollars go to supporting it? To address this question, the authors of this report—Michael Bailit, Mark Friedberg, and Margaret Houy—present a methodology to define and estimate spending on primary care, relative to other medical expenses. The study design … Read more

  • Integrated Data Systems for Population Health: A Panel at the Health Datapalooza Conference

    May 30, 2017

    For the second year in a row, the Fund participated in the Health Datapalooza conference, hosted by AcademyHealth in late April. An event sponsor, the Fund organized a session on integrated data systems (IDS) as a tool to improve population health. “Improving population health means looking beyond the medical system to identify and address the social, economic, and environmental factors … Read more