CMWF-Lessons from High-and Low-Performing States for Raising Overall Health System Performance

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This brief outlines interviews from stakeholders in states with high-ranking and low-ranking health system performance. Health system performance rankings were based on The Commonwealth Fund's State Scorecard on Health System Performance. Findings suggest there are market, political, and cultural characteristics that can help or hinder health system improvement. High-performing states are more likely to have: a history of continuous reform and government leadership; a culture of collaboration among stakeholders; transparency of price and quality information; and a congruent set of policies that focus on system improvement. The authors suggest that regardless of starting point, state policymakers and proponents for health system improvement can work to align incentives to change provider, health plan, purchaser, and consumer behavior; frame health in terms of economic development to gain public and political support; engage purchasers and payers to drive value and quality improvement; bring stakeholders together to develop goals and build trust; and take advantage of federal funding, incentives, and reform opportunities.