(CVS Health is a DiversityInc Noteworthy Company)
“Our job is to ensure the right care for consumers and to lower costs … to extract costs from the [health care] system, not add to them.”
This was the message CVS Health Chief Policy Officer and General Counsel Tom Moriarty shared at the 2017 Bloomberg Intelligence Health Care Summit, an event that brings together thought leaders from across the health care spectrum to discuss the industry’s most pressing issues.
The discussion was particularly timely, noted Moriarty, as policymakers on Capitol Hill debate changes to the health care system. “It’s an exciting and eventful time to be in the health care arena,” he said, adding that “there are still many more challenges all of us must grapple with as we move forward – regardless of how events in Washington play out.”
Assessing the Current Landscape
Health care spending continues to account for a growing share of the economy, and if current trends continue, family budgets, job creation and other important investments could be constrained. This scenario is avoidable, but according to Moriarty, “we need to understand how we got here in order to fix it.”
Moriarty highlighted four characteristics of the American health care system:
- The prevalence of chronic disease is growing and, as a nation, we are spending a disproportionate amount to treat it.
- Prescription drug costs are rising, particularly due to high launch prices and price increases for older drugs.
- Patients are bearing more financial responsibility as enrollment increases in high-deductible health plans.
- Systemic issues are resulting from misaligned objectives related to cost, quality and access.
Leading the Way to Better Health Outcomes and Lower Costs
As a company that touches consumers and patients at multiple points along the care continuum, CVS Health has learned valuable lessons on how to drive better patient outcomes and lower health care costs. As examples, Moriarty pointed to the company’s efforts aimed at addressing the most pressing challenges in the health care system:
- Empowering pharmacists to help patients manage their medications.
- Improving care coordination for patients transitioning between care settings.
- Expanding access to innovative lower-cost care settings.
- Managing drug trend for American employers and other private and public sector payers.
- Making medicines more affordable for consumers.
Moriarty acknowledged that there is no one strategy to address the growing health care challenges, but stressed that while we don’t have all the answers, every part of the health care system has a role to play in finding solutions that can help drive down costs and improve patient care.