Newt Gingrich Visits Alegent Health to See Health Transformation in Action
Release Date: 06/11/2008

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(OMAHA, Neb.) – Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House and founder of the Center for Health Transformation (CHT) has worked tirelessly for a health care system that puts the consumer in the driver’s seat. It is a vision that Alegent Health shares and is working hard to demonstrate by boldly reporting quality scores, real costs and by building consumer engagement.

“We all know that the health care system in this country is broken,” said Speaker Gingrich. “The question is how to fix it. Small changes and reactionary repairs to pieces of the current system don’t solve anything. We need a system-wide transformation that starts with the kind of bold moves happening at Alegent Health in Omaha.”

Those bold moves include reporting quality scores beyond those required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). “At first our scores were just okay,” recalled Alegent Health CEO Wayne Sensor. “I had doctors calling me wondering why we would post quality scores that were just average. I told them we were doing it for two reasons – first to make us better and second because it was the right thing to do.”

Alegent Health now has the highest quality scores in the nation according to the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems or HCAHPS which combines hospital compare numbers with CMS clinical quality data to arrive at national rankings. Alegent Health’s combined quality score of 97-percent out-distanced the nation’s number two ranked health system, Mayo Clinic, by 4-percent.

Quality scores are just one element of transformation. Another is cost transparency. Alegent Health has a patent pending online tool that will not only give the actual cost of hundreds of procedures and diagnostic tests, it will also determine an individual’s out of pocket expense according to their insurance policy. The “My Cost” tool is the first of its kind in the nation.

“Transparency is absolutely critical to getting people to own their health and healthcare,” said Alegent Health CEO Wayne Sensor. “What other product or service do Americans purchase without knowing how good it is and how much it costs? Why should health care be any different?”

Gingrich believes it shouldn’t. He says he likes what he sees happening at Alegent Health and wants to get a closer look. “The work going on here is important. It is health transformation in action,” Gingrich said. “I wanted to come to Omaha so that I can learn more about Alegent Health’s success and share it with others around the country.”

Alegent Health and CHT are natural partners, both pursuing health transformation through cost and quality transparency, dynamic leadership and consumer engagement. “Consumers are powerful,” Speaker Gingrich said. “It is time they exercise that power in healthcare. That’s when real change will happen.”

While in Omaha, Speaker Gingrich will give business and community leaders a peek inside healthcare - 21st century style by sharing his vision for a health care system that saves lives and money for all Americans. That vision is reality for employees at Alegent Health who are saving money by embracing Health Savings Accounts and Health Reimbursement Accounts. Equally as poignant, aggressive health screenings and incentives that led employees to changing their lifestyles for the better. Gingrich will hear from employees during his visit.

“We are thrilled to be able to host Speaker Gingrich,” said Sensor. “He is one of the great thought leaders of our time. We look forward to working with him on the quest toward health transformation and hope others in our community will join us.”

About Alegent Health
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 9,000 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. Alegent Health is online at

About The Center
The Center for Health Transformation is a high-impact collaboration of private and public sector leaders committed to creating a 21st Century Intelligent Health System that saves lives and saves money for all Americans. The Center is a for-profit, bi-partisan membership-based organization with over 100 members who find solutions to healthcare’s most pressing problems through participating in member meetings, collaborative workshops, training sessions and workgroups, and projects. CHT Press has recently published “The Art of Transformation” by Newt Gingrich and Nancy Desmond, and “Paper Kills: Transforming Health and Healthcare with Information Technology” edited by Project Director David Merritt. For more information, visit