New group pursuing improvements

April 3, 2011
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Health care leaders in Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Battle Creek have formed a new organization to promote standardization for quality in the hopes of reducing, or at least stabilizing, medical costs in West Michigan.

The Michigan Center for Clinical Systems Improvement was formed recently to give West Michigan health care providers and insurers a venue to hammer out common approaches aimed at improving quality and efficiency, said health care consultant Steve Williams, who has been tabbed to work with the group.

“Our key charge is to reduce variation: Is there a way we can do things in common to reduce variation, reduce costs and make it possible to address quality?” Williams said.

The organization’s steering committee includes representatives from the Lakeshore Health Network in Muskegon, Spectrum Health, Advantage Health and Metro Health in Grand Rapids, Integrated Health Partners in Battle Creek, as well as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network. The steering committee members are funding the initiative.

Williams said Mi-CCSI is working with Alliance for Health on a Robert Wood Johnson grant aimed at examining disparities in health care, quality improvement and cost reduction.

He said the group is hoping to include employers on the steering committee, as well.

“We are simply addressing the variation that is out there in health care — and it is legion,” Williams said.

“Health care is just not really addressing these issues in any kind of systematic way.”

MiCCSI will provide a neutral place for that discussion, he said.

Williams said issues the group has on its agenda include treatment of depression, treatment of chronic diseases and common payer metrics for patient-centered medical homes.

“It’s a very ambitious undertaking. We feel the time has come,” he said.

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