Vital Signs: Containing Health Care Costs

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Vital Signs: Vermont Charts A New Course For Health Care

This week Vermont Edition explores the big concepts and the bedeviling details involved in overhauling the health care system in our series, Vital Signs.

Governor Peter Shumlin often speaks of health care costs rising at a rate of one million dollars per day and many Vermonters have seen dramatic increases in insurance rates. While there’s strong disagreement over the governor’s proposals for universal health care, there’s no question that controlling costs is key to any approach.

We talk with Dr. Norm Ward, a family medicine physician and medical director, case management for Fletcher Allen Health Care and Richard Slusky, director of payment reform for the State of Vermont, about how we can reign in rising costs. The ideas range from paying physicians based on how successfully they’re treating patients, to creating incentives for people to make healthier lifestyle choices.

Also, Marathon Health in Colchester advises large companies on how to contain health care costs by assigning "health care coaches" to employees to develop individualized health care plans. By most accounts, this has been a very effective program. VPR’s Lynne McCrea reports on Marathon’s work with one Vermont employer.

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