Public comment south on health care spending benchmark draft plan

NEW CASTLE – The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services continues its work to adopt value-based payment reform strategies as part of the effort to establish a health care spending benchmark for the state and recently published a draft plan.

Public comment is currently being sought on the plan, “Delaware’s Road to Value,” which outlines changes in policy and legislation to transform the delivery of health care and improve outcomes for Delawareans, while lowering the growth rate of health care spending.

The plan is posted on the DHSS website here:

Public comments can be emailed to The deadline for submissions is Nov. 13.

“It’s important to hear from Delawareans about our draft plan for the health care spending benchmark,” said DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a board-certified family physician. “Think of the benchmark as a target for all of the health care spending in Delaware in any given year. I want to hear from people – consumers, providers, employers, nonprofit leaders and other stakeholders – about how we can best set and meet that target while providing consumers with care that improves their outcomes.”

Governor John Carney signed House Joint Resolution 7 in September, which authorized DHSS to develop a health care spending benchmark that is linked to the state’s rate of economic growth. In a federal analysis released this summer, Delaware had the third-highest per capita spending for health care in the country, behind only Alaska and Massachusetts. In 2014, Delaware’s per-capita rate of $10,254 was 27 percent higher than the U.S. average.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimated that if Delaware continues at that pace, total health care spending in the state will more than double from $9.5 billion in 2014 to $21.5 billion in 2025. In terms of overall health, Delaware ranks only 31st among the states, according to America’s Health Rankings.

The benchmark will serve as a major step in transforming Delaware’s health care system to a more outcome-driven system and away from a system that pays for care based solely on the number of room days, visits, procedures and tests.

The benchmark also will position Delaware to move toward innovative payment reform strategies, address issues in access to care, and quality improvement.

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