Thursday, March 12, 2015

Gray and Son Construction and GBHA – A New Partnership for the Quadruple Aim

The United States has one of the most complex health insurance systems in the world. An individual could be covered through a governmental program like Medicare, Medicaid or the Veterans Administration; they could be covered because their employer buys a health insurance plan for them or they could buy their own health insurance policy. In addition, many of us are covered because our employer pays our healthcare bills directly. I get coverage through GBMC. GBMC does not actually buy health insurance for its employees….it pays the bills for care as they come in. We contract with a company that handles the payment and we buy what is called “stop loss” insurance for very large claims. So we are able to say that GBMC is “self-insured”. We are not alone in this practice. Most larger companies are self-insured.

It is in the interest of the self-insured company to get the most value for the healthcare dollar spent. But until now, most companies didn’t pay much attention to what they were paying for a service. It was almost as if the employer was assuming that all services were the same, no matter who the provider was and that the costs were about the same. Well we know that this is not true. Some providers of care can charge as much as 60% more for the same service and the quality of the care received is not always the same.

So a few weeks ago I was very happy to meet with many of the employees of Gray and Son Construction.   Gray and Son is a leading contractor in the Baltimore area for both private and public projects, specializing in paving, excavating, utilities, and soil stabilization. It is a family-owned business steeped in tradition that dates back to 1908. I learned that the company intends to remain independent and looks out for its people. I realized that GBMC HealthCare and Gray and Son had a lot in common-both are local, independent- and relatively small, giving both companies an agility that makes it easier to get the job done and provide greater value to those that they serve.

Gray and Son saw the value that the Greater Baltimore Health Alliance could provide. They understood that advanced primary care with a team of caregivers led by a physician that was available and accountable could help them with prevention and the management of chronic disease. They knew of the great specialists at GBMC and that our outstanding hospital is lower cost than most in the area. Gray and Son learned of GBMC’s success in keeping the healthcare of its employees within the GBMC family while lowering out-of-pocket costs to its employees and they decided to do the same. So, Gray and Son employees will now have a “GBMC tier.”  If they use GBMC doctors and GBMC facilities, they will pay less. We will deliver improved clinical outcomes and better care experiences, showing them that we believe providing healthcare is a joyful pursuit.

Please join me in welcoming the people of Gray and Son into this partnership for better health and better care with the least waste and the most joy for those providing the care….our quadruple aim!


March is Professional Social Work month and I want to thank our dedicated group of social workers (pic below) who serve GBMC.  I am constantly impressed and humbled by the creativity and determination of this group. Our social workers carefully arrange for care of patients after they leave the hospital. Our social workers and care managers have helped GBMC reach the lowest readmission rate in the state and have designed a system that assures that our patients with advanced illness receive the continued support they need after they leave our hospital. Please take the time to say “thank you” for all they do.

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