Alegent Health Leads National Discussion on Health Care
Release Date: 01/15/2008

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Gingrich, Troy Talk Reform as Health Care Leaders Learn from Alegent Health

OMAHA, Neb. – There is little argument that America’s health care system is in crisis. America’s upper class knows it. The middle class feels it. The working class lives it. Health care reform is the topic of discussion from the board room to the ballot box. Amid the rhetoric comes action in the form of a plan designed, piloted and proven by Alegent Health, a faith-based health care system with nine hospitals in Nebraska and Iowa. On Jan. 15 and 16, executives and decision makers from nine U.S. health care systems will join analysts, technology experts and policy makers in Omaha, to look at real tactics that are showing real results.

“Health care reform is going to happen,” said Alegent Health CEO Wayne Sensor. We, as an industry, can either lead the way or accept what is dealt to us. I prefer to lead.”

Under Sensor’s direction, Alegent Health moved quickly to the forefront of health care providers making real headway against the challenges facing America’s health care system. At the heart of Alegent Health’s strategy – the patients. “We believe that real change comes at the hands of real people,” said Sensor. “As a faith-based, not-for-profit health care provider committed to healing the body, mind and spirit, we believe the solutions to the biggest challenges facing the industry must come at the individual level. That’s why our initiatives are focused on putting patients at the center of the health care equation.”

Those initiatives include reporting quality indicators to the public on our website; giving patients an online tool to help them estimate their out-of-pocket expenses and providing employees with a consumer-driven health plan that offers free preventative health coverage, health savings accounts and catastrophic medical coverage.

Alegent Health will walk executives from nine healthcare systems across the country through the methodology and the process at a two-day educational forum called Power to the Patient. The goal is to help other health care providers begin or move closer toward cost and quality transparency, designing new consumer-friendly access points and helping create incentives to get people more engaged in their health and health care decisions.

"We are part of the most consequential health care reform in four decades," said Tevi Troy, Ph.D., Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services. "They are reforms dependent on transparency and consumer driven health care, and an important step to getting there is what's taking place here in Omaha."

Real changes are happening at Alegent Health since it started on this journey two years ago. Most markedly, health care costs are down – well below the national average. In addition, 88-percent of the Alegent Health workforce is enrolled in either a Health Savings or Health Reimbursement Account. Incentives helped more than 670 employees lose a combined total of 6,500 pounds and another 398 to stop smoking. Those are real results happening in the lives of real people.

Forum Available to Media
Alegent Health will make parts of the forum available to the media via the Internet. Speeches by Tevi Troy, Ph.D. and Wayne Sensor, CEO of Alegent Health will be webcast at http://virtualrighttrack.quilogy.net/PowerToThePatient/Media/default.aspx from 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. CST on Jan. 15 at. You will need to pre-register by emailing ksorensen@alegent.org which can be done at any time. On Jan. 16, Speaker Newt Gingrich, founder of the Center for Health Transformation, will speak at 2 p.m CST. His remarks will also be webcast at http://stylive2.streamtoyou.com/thirdwave2. An archive of the remarks, My Cost demo or “test drive,” fact sheet and patient/employee stories will be available online at www.alegent.com.

Alegent Health is the largest not-for-profit, faith-based health care system in Nebraska and southwestern Iowa with nine acute care hospitals, more than 100 sites of service, over 1,300 physicians on its medical staff and roughly 8,600 employees. Alegent Health is making health care better with an exceptional commitment to quality and by providing patient focused care for the body, mind and spirit of every person consistent with its faith-based mission. Alegent Health continues the health ministry begun by its sponsors, Catholic Health Initiatives and Immanuel Health Systems, more than a hundred years ago. At Alegent Health, patients and their families find a continuum of care, from women's and children's services, primary care, wellness counseling, and senior care to cardiovascular services, orthopaedics, oncology, physical rehabilitation, home care and behavioral health.