From "How Much" To "How Well"

Task Force on Low-Value Care

The Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport Hotel
Detroit, MI / April 26-27, 2017

Experts have estimated that the US health care system wastes between $550 billion and $1.3 trillion annually; a midpoint estimate suggests that about one-third of all health care US dollars do not add value.1 Of this total, failures of care delivery, failures of care coordination, and overtreatment account for nearly 40 percent of identifiable waste.1 The Task Force on Low-Value Care will focus on the failures of the health care delivery system that expose patients to costs, harms, and risks that outweigh any benefits conferred.2

This waste contributes to higher commercial premiums and strains public budgets. Purchasers and payers often respond by cutting benefits or increasing cost-sharing requirements, which transfers risks to beneficiaries and discourages use of high-value services. Moreover, the money spent on waste crowds-out funds that might otherwise be invested in high-value services.

The Task Force aims to accelerate concerted action to reduce low-value medical care and thereby reduce pressure on payers and consumers. To this end, we will:

  • Draw attention to research on low-value medical care, as well as associated gaps in the literature;
  • Disseminate effective, practical tactics for enabling payers and purchasers to reduce low-value care; and
  • Identify and prioritize strategies for impacting the state and federal policymaking dialogue on low-value care.

In alignment with existing provider- and consumer-facing work, we will help payers and purchasers "move the needle" on low-value care faster than they otherwise might.

Goals of Planning Phase
The planning phase is dedicated to gauging the feasibility and advisability of efforts in this area. We will create a roadmap for future efforts, with particular attention to the best mechanisms and messengers for impacting decision-makers. We will also draft a white paper emphasizing the salience of low-value care and drawing attention to the relevant literature.

  1. Berwick DM, Hackbarth AD. Eliminating Waste in US Health Care. JAMA. 2012;307(14):1513. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.362.
  2. Koeller E, Barclay C, Velasquez TL, Harris R, Partin MR, Danan ER, Greer N, Wilt TJ. Healthcare Overuse: A Literature Review and Taxonomy Proposal. J Health Sci. 2016;4(2). doi:10.17265/2328-7136/2016.02.004.