Automakers commit to HHS healthcare quality initiative

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GM, Ford and Chrysler Group have signed on to support for a national HHS (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) initiative aimed at improving healthcare quality, information and cost-effectiveness for employees and their families. The announcement came this week in Detroit with executives from each company along with HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt.

The companies pledged to provide quality and price information about doctors, hospitals and other medical providers for all enrollees in their healthcare insurance programs. The information will help employees choose healthcare providers based on the quality of care they deliver and the prices they charge. The companies who signed cover nearly 2 million people.

In addition, the employers will support health information technology by encouraging the use of recognized interoperability standards in the health IT products used by their health plans. They also pledged to develop incentives for achieving better value in health care, including incentives for high quality care and for more active involvement by employees in choosing their health care services, according to a release.

These four actions are the cornerstones of an initiative launched last November by Secretary Leavitt.

"I am proud that GM, Ford, Chrysler and other leading Michigan employers are choosing to support these four cornerstones to achieve better health care and better value for employees and their families," Secretary Leavitt said. "It has not been possible for patients to learn in advance about the quality of care they can expect to receive from a provider, or the cost of the services they will incur. By making this information available, employers can help their employees get better care and better value in health care."

Leavitt added that through this initiative, "Patients will come to expect quality and performance information about healthcare providers. They will expect to have price or cost information in advance to make good value decisions about their care. They will use this information to improve healthcare value for themselves and their families. And the choices they make will help improve value and healthcare quality across the health care sector."

More information is available at