Moving Toward a 21st Century Health Care System

Speaking to at the Care Innovation Summit on February 27, HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius highlighted significant progress toward a 21st century health care system while acknowledging that there is much more to be done. Archived video of Sebelius’s presentation and other key sessions from the Summit are newly available at “We have moved an entire health system into a technological age,” she noted, referring to the fact that over 50% of U.S. hospitals have electronic health records. She also stressed that recent HHS initiatives have shown that “when you remove the barriers to innovation, you can actually hold down costs while lifting entrepreneurs up and getting better health results.” Patrick Conway, MD, director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation said that one program to reduce hospital readmissions helped decrease Medicare readmission rates from 20% in January 2012 to 17.5% in January 2013. That translates to more than 130,000 avoided readmissions. Dr. Conway said, “We are on the right path but need to increase the pace.” Peter Orszag, vice chairman of Corporate and Investment Banking at Citigroup, says that health care spending is slowing because providers are projecting a significant change in how they are paid. Half of facility revenue is projected to be value-based in the next three to five years. Chet Burrell, CEO of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield cited his company’s success in establishing patient-centered medical homes with providers. Dr. Conway compared it to Bellin-Thedacare Healthcare Partners’s ACO, which lost money because other payers were not willing to align payment models. Dr. Conway said, “We need to align incentives so that … this becomes financially sustainable because we’ve aligned the private payer, the Medicaid, and the Medicare market.” Visit to see a summary of several summit sessions.

Last Updated 12/01/2021

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