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Top Things We’re Watching on Election Day

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As of Monday, nearly 100 million votes were cast – over two-thirds of 2016’s total. Is it anticlimactic to say that the 2020 election is finally around the corner?

The next Administration will oversee not just the next stage of the pandemic, but also determine how much progress our industry makes in key areas such as health IT, quality and our payment system. Here on Election Day Eve, Premier’s experts are talking about how the next four years could form a new echelon in health policy, from the advancement of data standards to value-based care models.

Here are seven topics that will be top of mind for our experts on Election Day.

1. The COVID-19 Surveillance Strategy
"To date, our pandemic response has focused on mask-wearing, social distancing and testing to curb the spread of the disease. While important, they can’t be our only weapons. Research shows that diagnostic tests may still have significant false-negative rates early after an infection, at which point contact tracing may happen too late. Moreover, tests and supplies remain in shortage, while COVID-19 testing labs continue to struggle with throughput.
This is why we are hoping the next four years will involve a change in strategy that augments testing with surveillance technologies in the ambulatory setting in order to monitor for upticks in COVID-19 symptoms, often the first and earliest warning of an outbreak cluster."

- Scott Weingarten, MD, Chief Clinical and Innovation Officer

2. The Enthusiasm Toward Value-Based Care
"On election night, I’m thinking about the many healthcare organizations that should move to alternative payment models (APMs) to be diversified and better positioned to innovate and respond to disruptions like COVID-19.

Providers that have a diversified revenue stream that includes APMs have innovated care models and weathered the COVID-19 storm better than their counterparts: A Premier survey showed that providers in APMs had an edge in reopening because they had already built the capabilities to better coordinate care – from telehealth and care management to data analytics. These are the types of population health proficiencies the industry must focus on sustaining beyond COVID-19 and furthering in the near future."

- Chris Smedley, Vice President of Strategy, Innovation and Population Health

3. Better Transparency in the Drug Supply Chain
"Next year, we’ll be looking for the Administration to take some real action on drug shortages. While the FDA has compiled a list of 'essential medications' that need to be protected, we’re looking forward to working with the FDA to create policies that help diversify the production of these medicines, build safety stock and surge capacity, and ensure at least some domestic sources of supply.

As part of this, we expect the next four years will be dedicated to improving transparency around how and where drugs are produced and implementing new authorities that would require manufacturers to disclose more upstream data, as called for in the CARES Act, so that we better understand and take proactive actions to mitigate overseas overreliance and risk."

- Wayne Russell, RPh, PharmD, Vice President, Pharmacy

4. Modernization of our Public Health Data Systems
“One glaring revelation from COVID-19 has been our antiquated and ineffectual approaches to public health data collection and reporting. Premier and our members are committed to ensuring patients’ access to their data and interoperability across the healthcare and public health ecosystems.

Over the next four years, we’re going to continue to urge for forward movement toward comprehensive, consistent and standards-based data collection within health care and public health; upgrades to EHR technology and functionality, especially timely implementation of the USCDI; open, standardized Application Programming Interfaces (APIs); and electronic health information export functionality. As I watch election results roll in, I’m also thinking about how we can continue to encourage fully interoperable EHRs and third-party applications, data sharing and exchange."

- Meryl Bloomrosen, Senior Director, Federal Affairs

5. Building Blocks for a New Healthcare Payment System
"While we’ve made gains in the movement to value, progress toward the most advanced models has been slow. I’m looking at whether the next administration will put forth new advanced APMs, set a clear timeline for transition, and ensure a level playing field for all providers. To speed the progression from no or low risk to advanced risk models, several changes are needed."

- Aisha Pittman, Vice President of Policy

6. Supporting Healthcare Workers with a More Functional Supply Chain
"Back in January, we thought medical device sterilization was going to be a key issue for the healthcare supply chain in this election year, which just goes to show how capricious 2020 has been.

The leader of the next administration will be directed to respond to current events – the seismic challenge of vaccine distribution, the convergence of COVID-19 and flu season, and mounting hospitalizations – while at the same time, asked to partner with the private sector to rebuild a flawed supply chain. Over the next four years, Premier will continue to advocate for and work toward a cohesive national strategy that addresses global pandemics, including greater upstream visibility into the supply chain and thoughtfully designed stockpiles.
But on the cusp of the election, my thoughts are with the healthcare providers and workers who have stepped up to respond to their community’s needs this year, and shown incredible strength and ingenuity – and making sure that we as a nation are poised to take action to support this group with a more transparent, reliable and functional supply chain."

- Chaun Powell, Group Vice President, Strategic Supplier Engagement

7. A Nimble System to Operationalize Supply Chain Data
"As we work with the next Congress to make our supply chain more resilient, we’re thinking strategically about how we collect data from across the supply chain to assess where products are – and where the gaps are. We need a system that enables both upstream and downstream visibility into supplies, starting with products that are in or expected to be in production by manufacturers, products that are in distribution and products that are with healthcare providers. Today, we know the manufacturer and distributor information, but we lack a system that can quickly tie in to hospital inventory data.

This wouldn’t require an ongoing collection of the data, but rather a structure that we can rapidly mobilize to collect specific supply information on critical products. With a system that can be quickly operationalized - like turning on a switch - government and decisions-makers can quickly understand what critical products are needed and where, and then dynamically allocate to those areas. Such a system should also be tested on an annual or biannual basis."

- Soumi Saha, Vice President, Advocacy

Like the rest of the nation, we are eagerly awaiting the final outcome of the presidential election.

In the meantime, the Premier healthcare alliance remains laser-focused on the important task at hand, which is leading the transformation to a coordinated, high quality and cost-effective healthcare system. Regardless of who will be in the White House on Jan. 20, we're committed to addressing the urgent issues facing our country on a bipartisan basis.

Dive deeper into Premier's policy and advocacy efforts.

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